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Fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh ; Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy ; of the 
Royal Society of Sciences of Denmark ; of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Berlin ; of the Royal Academy of 
Naples ; of the Geological Society of France ; Honorary Member of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta ; Fellow of 
the Royal Linnean, and of the Geological Societies of London ; of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall, and 
of the Cambridge Philosophical Society; of the Antiquarian, Wernerian Natural History, Royal Medical, Royal 
Physical, and Horticultural Societies of Edinburgh ; of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland ; of 
the Antiquarian and Literary Society of Perth ; of the Statistical Society of Glasgow ; of the Royal Dublin 
Society; of the York, Bristol, Cambrian, Whitby, Northern, and Cork Institutions; of the Natural History So- 
ciety of Northumberland, Durham, and Newcastle ; of the Imperial Pharmaceutical Society of Petersburgh ; of 
the Natural History Society of Wetterau ; of the Mineralogical Society of Jena ; of the Royal Mineralogical So- 
ciety of Dresden ; of the Natural History Society of Paris ; of the Philomathic Society of Paris ; of the Natural 
History Society of Calvados ; of the Senkenberg Society of Natural History ; of the Society of Natural Sciences 
and Medicine of Heidelberg ; Honorary Member of the Literary and Philosophical Society of New York ; of 
the New York Historical Society ; of the American Antiquarian Society ; of the Academy of Natural Sciences of 
Philadelphia ; of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York ; of the Natural History Society of Montreal ; of 
the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania for the Promotion of the Mechanical Arts ; of the Geological 
Society of Pennsylvania ; of the Boston Society of Natural History of the United States ; of the South African 
Institution of the Cape of Good Hope ; Honorary Member of the Statistical Society of France ; Member of the 
Entomological Society of Stettin, &c. &c. &c. 

APRIL 1852 OCTOBER 1852. 






PRINTED KY UEILl AND <<> M P A V Y , <> 1. 1> 1 I :> H M A It K 1' T. 


Art. I. Observations on Drift; on the Causes of Change '"* 

So rine^: }\**£* *«*«*£% 

Beine-s thl t. . . . Plo « ress,on »f Animate 
specUo' rt ° C ' nn J of Agression with re- 
A P ^ iT mate Matter: being part of the 

Address dehvered at the AnniveL'ry Meet- 

hf 26th of F i° glCal S 1 ° Ciet ^ ° f Lo " do ". °* 
Hopkins, Esq., President of the Society 

1. Drift, . • 

2 -sZ^Zl« t ™^ * * Earth, 

3 " durtg SS^ Organi'c For m3 

8 successive Geological Epochs, 97 

4. Doctrine of Proaresm'nn «r,-+v, Z ' 

mate Matter ° gression Wlth aspect to Inani- 





p 352) mbay> (C ° ntinue(5 f — -1 X 

III. Geology as illustrated by Chemistry and Physics 
By Professor Gustav Bischof of Bonn 7 

Canadian Boundary Commission, &c, 7 55 

1- Physical Geography, 
2. Geology, * 55 

V -^£ He t g ^t°^ tri t a " dM ^ ° 

F.R.S., VE ' Es 9-> MA -, 

' C>2 


Art. VI. On the Recent Progress of Ethnology, being 
the Annual Discourse for 1852. Read before 
the Ethnological Society, at the Annual Meet- 
ing, on 14th May 1852. By Richard Cull, 
Esq., Honorary Secretary. (Communicated 
by the Ethnological Society), . . 67 

VII. Chemical Report to the Lords of the Committee 
of Privy Council for Trade, on the Cause of 
Fire in the Ship Amazon. By Professor 
Graham, ...... 79 

VIII. On the Foliation and Cleavage of Rocks of the 
North of Scotland. By Daniel Sharpe, Esq., 
F.R.S., &c, 84 

IX. On the Structure of the Iguanodon, and on the 
Fauna and Flora of the Wealden Formation. 
By G. A. Mantell, Esq., LL.D., F.R.S., 87 

X. On the Clouds and Equatorial Cloud Rings of 
the Earth. By Lieut. Maury, of the Ameri- 
can National Observatory, . . 92 

XL On the Blackheath Pebble-Bed, and on Certain 
Phenomena in the Geology of the Neighbour- 
hood of London. By Sir Charles Lyell, 94 

XII. On the Great Principles either suggested or 
worked out by the late celebrated Dr William 
Prout, F.R.S., &c. By Dr Daubeny, Profes- 
sor of Botany, Oxford. (Communicated by the 
Author), 98 

XIII. The Cambrian and Silurian Discussion, . 102 

1. Professor Sedgwick's Answer to Sir R. I. Mur- 
chison's Letter, inserted in the Literary Ga- 
zette, and at page 355 of the Fifty-second 
Volume of the Edinburgh Philosophical Jour- 
nal, 10! 

2. Sir R. I. Murchison's Comments on Professor 
Sedgwick's Letter (No. 1), . . . HO 

3. Professor Sedgwick's Reply to the preceding 
Fitter of Sir K. I. Murchison, . . \\ t 


Art. XIV. On the Ethnography of Akkrah and Adampe, 
Gold Coast, Western Africa. By William 
Daniell, M.D., F.R.G.S., Assistant-Surgeon 
to the Forces, &c. (Communicated by the Eth- 
nological Society), .... 


XV. On the Supposed Analogy between the Life of an 
Individual and the Duration of a Species. By 
Edward Forbes, Esq., &c. (Communicated 
by the Author), 130 

XVI. Lectures on the Results of the Great Exhibition 
of 1851, delivered before the Society of Arts, 
Manufactures, and Commerce, at the sugges- 
tion of His Royal Highness Prince Albert, Pre- 
sident of the Society, . . . . 135 

I. Sir Henry de la Beche. — 1. Amount of British 
Iron. 2. Desilverising of Lead. 3. Plum- 
bago, 136-137 

II. Professor Owen. — 1. Geology of the Sheep. 
2. Baleen. 3. Ivory. 4. Feathers and Down. 
5. General Remarks on Materials from the 
Vegetable and Animal Kingdom, 137—144 

III. Br Lyon Playfair. — 1. Iron Smelting. 

2. Soap. 3. Perfumery, . . 144-147 

IV. Professor Lindley. — 1. Australian Wheat. 
2. Tobacco. 3. Typha Bread. 4. Preserva- 
tion of Vegetables in long voyages. 5. Pre- 
served Meats, .... 147—154 

V. Professor Royle. — 1. Indian Collection a basis 

for Schools of Design, ... 154 

XVII. Anatomy of Doris, 


XVIII. On Three Important Chemical Discoveries from 
the Exhibition of 1851 — (A.) Mercer's Con- 
traction of Cotton by Alkalies — (B.) Young's 
Paraffine and Mineral Oil from Coal — (C.) 
Schrotter's Amorphous Phosphorus. By Dr 
Lyon Playfair, C.B., F.R.S., 


XIX. On the Spiral Structure of Muscle and the Mus- 
cular Structure of Cilia, as determined by 
Dr Martin Barry, . . . . 168 



XX. Letter from Mr Stevenson Macadam to Profes- 
sor Jameson, on M. Chatin's Observations on 
the General Distribution of Iodine . . 169 

XXI. Upon Animal Individuality. By Thomas H. 

Huxley, F.R.S., R.N., ... 172 

XXII. Scientific Intelligence : — 

1. A Letter to Sir John W. Lubbock, Bart., 
F.R.S., " On the Stability of the Earth's Axis of 
Rotation." By Henry Hennessy, Esq., M.R.I. A., 
&c. (Communicated by Sir John Lubbock). 
2. Influence of Oil on Water. 3. The Salt 
Lake of Utah. 4. Mud Volcano near the Salt 
Lake Utah. 5. Mount Ararat. 6. Mr Peter- 
mann and the Franklin Expedition. 7. Pheno- 
mena of Vision. 8. Vision under Water, 
9. Colours most frequently hit during 
Battle, 177-183 

XXIII. List of Patents granted for Scotland from 24 h 

March to 18th June 1852, . . . 184 



Art. I. Biography of Berzelius. By Professor H. Rose 

of Berlin, 189 

II. Some Observations on the Ova of the Salmonidse. 
By John Davy, M.D., F.R.S., &c. Com- 
municated by the Author, . , . 221 

III. On the Condition and Prospects of the Aborigines 
of Australia. By W. Westgarth, Esq., 

1. Present Aboriginal Population, . . 225 

2. Their Decrease, and the Causes to which this 
circumstance is attributable ; their Present 
Condition, and Means of Subsistence, . 228 

3. Infanticide, 232 

4. Intermixture of Race with the Whites, 233 

5. Physical Aspect, . . . . 234 

6. Language, 234 

7. Religious and Social Institutions, Customs, and 
Manners, 235 

8. General Character, and Degree of Aptitude 

for Employment and Civilisation, . . 238 

IV. On the Geysers of California, . . 241 

V. On Meteorites. By Charles Upham Shepard, 
M.D., Professor of Chemistry and Mineralogy. 
Communicated by the Author, 

1. Tuttehpore, Hindostan, Nov. 30, 1822, 245 

2. Charwallas, 30 miles from Hissar, India, June 

12, 1834, 246 

3. Meteoric Iron, County Down, Ireland. Fell 
August 10, 5 p.m., 1846, . . . 246 

4. Description of a Large Stone of the Linn Co., 
Iowa, fall of Feb., 25, 1847, . . . 247 

5. Meteoric Stone of Waterloo, Seneca Co., N. Y.; 

fell in the summer of 1826 or 1827, . 248 

6. Specific gravity of two meteoric irons, 249 


Art. VI. Chemical Examination of Drift- Weed Kelp from 
Orkney. By George W. Brown, Esq. of Glas- 
gow. Communicated by the Author, . 250 

Analysis of Orkney Drift- Weed Kelp, . 252 

Analysis of Insoluble Salts, . . . 253 

Quantitative Analysis of Insoluble Salts, . 253 

Analysis of Soluble Salts, . . . 257 

Quantitative Analysis of Soluble Salts, . 258 

Results of Analysis of Soluble Salts, . . 262 
Table of Per-Centage Composition of Orkney 

Kelp. — Insoluble Salts, . . . 263 

Soluble Salts, 264 

VII. On the Colours of a Jet of Steam, . . 264 

VIII. Report upon the Alleged Adulteration of Pale 
Ales by Strychnine. By Professors Graham 
and Hoffmann, . . . 266 

IX. The New Metal Donarium is Thorina, . 274 

X. Chemico- Geological Researches on the Sulphurets 
which are Decomposable by Water. By E. 
Fremy, ...... 275 

XI. Analysis of Indian Ores of Manganese, and of 
some Scottish Zeolites. By Dr A. J. Scott, 
H.E.I. C.S. Communicated by the Author, 277 

XII. On the Erratic Formation of the Bernese Alps, 
and other parts of Switzerland. By Charles 
Maclaren, Esq., F.R.S.E.,F.G.S., and Mem- 
ber of the Geological Society of France. Com- 
municated by the Author. With Map and 
engraved Illustrations, . . . 285 

XIII. Infusoria, the earliest Larval state of Intestinal 

Worms, according to Professor Agassiz, 314 

XIV. On the General Distribution of Iodine. By Mr 

Stevenson Macadam, Teacher of Chemistry, 
Philosophical Institution, Edinburgh. Com- 
municated by the Author, . . 315 

XV. Some Additional Observations on the Superficial 
Colouring Matter of Rocks. By John Davy, 
M.D., F.R.S.S., London and Edinburgh. Com- 
municated by the Author, . . . 326 

XVI. On the Place of the Poles of the Atmosphere ; and 
the Reid Theory of Hurricanes. By Professor 
C. Piazzi Smyth, .... 330 



Art. XVII. On the Ethnography of Akkrah and Adampe, 
Gold Coast,' Western Africa. By William 
Daniell, M.D., F.R.G.S., Assistant-Surgeon 
to the Forces, &c. (Communicated by the Eth- 
nological Society). Concluded from p. 130, 333 

XVIII. Defence of the Doctrine of Vital Affinity, against 
the Objections stated to it by Humboldt and 
Dr Daubeny. By Dr Alison, . . 340 

XIX. On the Blood-proper and Chylo-aqueous Fluids of 
Invertebrate Animals. By Thomas Williams, 
M.D., 342 

XX. The Future of Geology, ... 344 

XXI. Divisibility of Matter, .... 348 

XXII. On two New Processes for the detection of Fluo- 
rine when accompanied by Silica ; and on the 
presence of Fluorine in Granite, Trap, and 
other Igneous Rocks, and in the Ashes of 
Recent and Fossil Plants. By George Wil- 
son, M.D., ..... 349 

XXIII. On the Presence of Fluorine in the Stems of 
Graminese, Equisetacese, and other Plants; 
with some Observations on the Sources from 
which Vegetables derive this element By 
George Wilson, M.D., . . . 356 

XXIV. Observations on the Relation between the Height 

of Waves and their Distance from the Wind- 
ward Shore ; in a Letter to Professor Jameson. 
By Thomas Stevenson, Esq., F.R.S.E., Civil 
Engineer, ..... 358 

XXV. Additional Observations on the Green Teas of 

Commerce. By Robert Warrington, Esq., 
F.C., ...... 368 

XXVI. On the Distribution of Granite Blocks from Ben 
Cruachan. By William Hopkins, Esq., 
F.R.S., President of the Geological Society, 362 

XXVII. On Fish destroyed by Sulphuretted Hydrogen in 

the Bay of Callao. By Dr J. L. Burtt, U.S.N. 363 

XXVIII. M. Melloni on Dew, .... 364 

Distribution of Dew in different Regions, 366 

Copiousness of Dew in Tropical Countries, 367 

Want of Dew in Polynesia, . . . 368 


Want of Dew on Ships traversing the vast soli- 
tudes of the Ocean, .... 368 

Dew hecomes more abundant as we approach 

the Equator, 369 

Presence of Dew makes known the proximity 

of Masses of Water concealed from the Eye, 370 

Intense Cold during the Night in the Great 

Desert, 370 

Artificial Freezing of Water in Bengal, . 37 1 

XXIX. Obituary, Professor Macgillvray, . . 372 

XXX. Scientific Intelligence : — 


1. Meteorological Society at the Mauritius. 2. 
Great Fall of Rain in India. 3. Annual 
Amount of Rain at Alexandria, . 372,373 


4. Examination of Rocks by means of the Mi- 
croscope. 5. On the Relative Conducting 
Power of Rocks for Heat. 6. Tertiary Coal 
in India. 7. Examination of Soils by the 
Microscope. 8. Rock Salt of the Punjaub in 
India. 9. Mountain Systems of Europe. 
10. Survey of the suppositious Submarine 
Bridge of the Norwegians. 11. On the 
Pterodactyles of the Chalk Formation. 12. 
On the Remains of a Gigantic Bird from the 
London Clay of Sheppey. By J. S. Bower- 
bank, F.R.S. 13. Map of Switzerland. 14. 
Salt Lake of Utah. 15. Suggestion that all 
Africa has a grand Basin-like arrange- 
ment, 373-376 


16. Agassiz appointed Professor of Comparative 
Anatomy in the Medical College of the State 
of South Carolina, .... 377 


17. Galvani and Volta. 18. Sir Charles 

Ly ell's Visit to North America, . 378 

Books and Maps Published and to be Published, 379 

XXXI. List of Patents granted for Scotland from 22d 

June to 22d September 1852, . . 381 

Mr LTenwood's communication we are affraid will require to be illustrated by 
expensive plates. Mr Smith's interesting communication is somewhat in the 
same predicament. Other communications unsuitable for the Philosophical 
Journal will be returned to the authors. 


I'm go 46, foot-note, 1st line, for sine read eine, and same line, for 

gesamten read gesaniinton, 2d line, for Ertes read Erstes. 
Page 368, for in pari canu, read in similar circumstances. 




Observations on Drift; on the Causes of Change in the Earth's 
Superficial Temperature ; the Doctrine of Progression with 
respect to Animate Beings ; Doctrine of Progression with 
respect to Inani?nate Matter: being part of the Address 
delivered at the Anniversary Meeting of the Geological 
Society of London on the 26th February 1852. By Wil- 
liam Hopkins, Esq.. President of the Society.* 

Gentlemen, — In the wide range which Geology now presents to 
us, it has not been without some perplexity that I have determined 
on the form of the Annual Address which I am now called upon 
to make to you. The more frequent precedent afforded by similar 
addresses would suggest a general analysis or review of what has 
been done, especially in our own Society, during the past year ; 
and this appears to me one obvious and useful object of such ad- 
dresses. At the same time I think it right that each of your Pre- 
sidents in succession should judge for himself as to the manner in 
which he may best fulfil his mission, and adopt that course which 
he may feel himself capable of rendering most subservient to the 
progress of our science. You will recollect that during the past 
year we have been much occupied in discussing the superficial ac- 
cumulations now generally designated as " drift." Our Quarterly 
Journal of the past year contains a considerable number of papers, 
and some elaborate ones, bearing more or less immediately upon 
it. It is a branch of our science, too, which has been making of 
late great progress, but in which much yet remains to be done 
before we arrive at a complete knowledge of the phenomena, and 
those sound theoretical views which may command something like 
unity of assent. For these reasons I have determined to make 

* Prom a copy of the Address presented by the Author. 
VOL. LIII. NO. CV.— JULY 1852. A 

2 On Drift. 

this subject the leading one of my address. In doing so I shall 
not restrict myself to a mere analysis of the communications which 
have been made to us. I shall venture to criticise them with such 
freedom as may, I trust, require no further apology than that 
which the desire of advancing our science may afford. I shall 
also, before I enter on this more detailed analysis, endeavour to 
bring before you a general view of some of the more important 
parts of the subject, under the aspect which it now presents to us. 
Papers also on other subjects have been brought before us, which 
are far too important to be omitted in any general review of our 
proceedings, and to which I shall in the sequel direct your atten- 

I. Drift. 

If the period of the drift involved only a repetition of the action 
of those geological causes which we recognise in earlier geological 
periods, it would still have an especial interest, as approximating 
to our own times, and as less likely than those earlier periods to 
have the nature and character of its operations and phenomena 
masked by those of succeeding periods. But besides this, we have 
reason to regard it as a period of peculiar conditions, and of phe- 
nomena referable to peculiar causes, the study of which has opened 
to us entirely new views respecting the agencies which have so 
marvellously modified the face of our planet, by the continual 
transference of matter from one part of its surface to another. 
The study of this period has also led us to a knowledge of climatal 
conditions not before suspected, and to various researches into the 
causes which may have produced those conditions ; and thus we 
have extended our knowledge of one of the most interesting branches 
of terrestrial physics. 

There is perhaps no branch in which speculative geology has 
recently made more satisfactory progress than in theoretical views 
respecting the agencies by which the larger masses associated with 
the drift, the erratic blocks, have been transported from one loca- 
lity to another. At the same time, no subject, perhaps, has been 
more characterised, in passing through its various phases, by ex- 
treme hypotheses and premature conclusions. When water alone 
was recognised as the means of transport, hypotheses were some- 
times made respecting the magnitudes of single waves, and their 
passage even over elevated mountains, which nearly all of us should 
now agree in condemning as extravagant ; and effects were attri- 
buted to them which, from the transitory character of any single 
wave, were not only improbable, but perhaps physically impos- 
sible. In the abandonment of such extreme hypotheses we have 
made a most salutary step. Nor was the introduction of the 
glacial theories of transport, by glaciers and floating ice, unattended 
by hypotheses, which might be deemed extreme hypotheses with 

On Drift. 3 

as much propriety as those which were condemned as extravagant 
in the agency of water. It is manifest, however, that these ex- 
treme views are gradually but surely giving way in favour of those 
more moderate, and, as I believe, sounder views to which we ap- 
pear to be rapidly converging. 

The glacial theories of transport of erratic blocks made rapid 
progress among us soon after their first announcement, although 
received by many geologists in the first instance with great reser- 
vation. One reason of this reserve was, I imagine, the difficulty 
of conceiving a change of temperature such as required by those 
theories, exactly opposite to the changes which the geologist had 
ever contemplated — a change after the glacial epoch from a lower 
to a higher temperature. Increasing knowledge, however, of the 
causes affecting climatal conditions have enabled us to remove in 
great measure this source of doubt. Another reason for hesitation 
in accepting these theories was, perhaps, to be found in the incau- 
tious manner in which their claims were asserted by some of their 
first advocates, and the unlimited application which was made of 
them to account for the phenomena of transported materials of all 
kinds. Whatever truth might belong to the facts adduced in sup- 
port of these theories, it was clear that much of the reasoning 
founded upon them was untenable. Overstrained applications, 
however, of physical theories, are almost the necessary conse- 
quences of their early reception by minds animated by an ardent 
zeal for the discovery of new scientific truths ; and perhaps this 
tendency, in certain stages in the progress of science, may be almost 
necessary to counteract the hesitation of those whom natural timi- 
dity, or possibly severer mental discipline and more accurate phy- 
sical knowledge, may have rendered too slow in the recognition 
of the germs of new theories, while supported, perhaps, by little 
of demonstrative evidence. All doubts, however, as to these 
theories being founded in truth, whether there might be more or 
less of exaggeration in the advocacy of them, soon gave way before 
the evidence collected by northern voyagers respecting the action 
of icebergs, and that supplied by Agassiz, Charpentier, Forbes, 
and others, who devoted themselves to the study of the constitu- 
tion and motion of glaciers. Almost all geologists, I conceive, 
now agree in the opinion that both floating and terrestrial ice have 
played their part to a greater or less extent in the transport of 
erratic blocks. 

The theories of Agassiz and Charpentier as to the causes of 
glacier motion have been refuted by the exact admeasurements 
made not only by Professor Forbes, but by those of Agassiz him- 
self; and the speculative views of the latter philosopher on the 
former extension of glaciers over the surface of a large portion of 
the northern hemisphere are no longer received. But, gentlemen, 
geologists would be ungrateful if, while they acknowledge, as we 


4 On Drift. 

all do, the great value of the researches of our countryman Profes- 
sor Forbes on the Alpine glaciers, they should in any degree forget 
the debt they owe to the distinguished Swiss naturalist and his 
countryman, who were the first to point out the effects of glaciers 
in smoothing and striating rocks, to urge their effectiveness in the 
transport of blocks, and to indicate phenomena of a past epoch 
similar to those of the present time, in such a manner as to com- 
mand the attention of geologists, and finally to lead to the adoption 
of our present views respecting the glacial epoch. It is especially 
to M. Agassiz, and his ardour in the pursuit of scientific truth, that 
we owe the first knowledge of this subject in our own country. 
His visits here, and the personal favour with which he was received 
among us, gave him frequent opportunities of expounding his 
views ; and I cannot refrain on this occasion from expressing the 
delight with which I call to mind the open-hearted hospitalities 
which he exercised in the deep recesses of the Bernese Alps, and 
from testifying to the perfect unreserve with which he communi- 
cated his views to those alike who favoured or opposed them. 

I have already remarked that water was formerly almost the 
only recognised agent in the transport of erratic blocks. On the 
introduction of the glacial theory it was superseded, and appeared 
to be almost forgotten ; "nor does it still seem to have regained 
what I conceive to be its just claims, in the minds of many geo- 
logists. On the abandonment, however, of some of the unreason- 
able claims of the glacial theories, and the distinct recognition of 
large portions of drift as subaqueous phenomena, the importance 
of currents as agents of transport gained more attention, though 
there are probably many persons who yet fail to realise in their 
own minds the enormous power which such currents may possess, 
even without greater velocities than may be easily allowed them. 
This power arises from the fact, which I have elsewhere demon- 
strated, that the moving force of a current, estimated by the 
weight of a block of any assigned form and material, increases as 
the sixth power of the velocity of the current. It is this which 
accounts for the circumstance that the same atmosphere which in 
one state of motion constitutes a summer breeze, but just sufficient 
to move the leaf or the flower, exerts at other times the almost 
irresistible force of the storm. It is on this account, too, that, 
reasoning from the power of ordinary currents of two or three 
miles an hour, we are liable to miscalculate so entirely the force 
of a rapid current. 

I consider the distinct recognition of these three agencies of 
transport — glaciers, floating ice, and currents — as essential to the 
final establishment of sound theoretical views on this subject, and 
the great majority of geologists are probably prepared to recognise 
them to a greater or less extent. It is equally essential that we 
should be prepared to assign to each of these agencies its share in 

On Drift. 5 

the great work of transport according to the characters of the 
transported materials ; for it is alone by a careful study of these 
distinctive characters that we can hope to decide by what agent 
the transport has been effected. On this point there appears to 
be still much discrepancy of opinion, when the test has to be 
applied to individual cases. These differences of opinion seem to 
manifest themselves principally on questions relating to the action 
of water, either with reference to the form in which currents tend 
to deposit a general mass of drift, or to their effect in rounding and 
wearing the individual component parts of it, as compared with the 
tendency of other modes of transport to produce similar effects. 
It may be that we have not yet studied these effects as referable to 
different causes with sufficient care, or that we are still too much 
influenced individually by preconceived notions ; but it is certain 
that different persons do draw very different inferences as to the 
mode of transport of a given mass of drift, from the characters 
which its component materials present. In some cases such in- 
ferences will probably ever remain doubtful, but in others there 
can be no reasonable grounds for doubt. Most geologists appear 
now to agree about what may be regarded as the two extreme 
cases, and admit small rounded pebbles as a proof of long-con- 
tinued aqueous action, and very large erratics with perfectly un- 
worn angles as equally indicative of transport by ice. If there 
be any among us not glacialists to this extent, I recommend them 
to the personal study of these blocks. I well recollect, in my 
own case, that after resisting all verbal arguments in favour of 
glacial theories, I stood at once convinced under the silent appeal 
of the Pierre ct bot on my visit to that magnificent erratic of the 
Jura. In almost all the cases intermediate to these extremes, I 
fear we have much yet to reconcile before we come to any unity 
of opinion. And here, gentlemen, let us ask ourselves in the 
spirit of candour, whether one cause of this may not be found in 
our natural tendency to hold too pertinaciously to preconceived 
opinions. It will not be denied by any one, I imagine, that it 
would generally be the necessary consequence of a transitory cur- 
rent driving a mass of drift over a level surface, to spread it out in 
an approximately equable layer; while such a result could generally 
be regarded as only the accidental consequence of transport by 
floating ice. Suck a layer would indicate the latter as a possible 
mode of deposition, the former as a highly probable one. When 
the glacialist contends for the possible rather than the probable 
mode, let him examine himself strictly whether he may not be 
unconsciously under the dominion of preconceived theoretical 
views. Again, the polishing of rocks and their striation in de- 
finite directions may be generally regarded as the necessary con- 
sequences of the passage over them of a large mass of ice, pre- 
serving its general direction of motion in defiance of merely local 

fi On Drift. 

obstacles. Such effects might also be produced by the passage of 
masses of detritus. The former is a probable, the latter a possible 
mode of producing these phenomena. When the opponent of the 
glacialist, therefore, urges the latter against the former mode of 
action (except under some particular condition), let him also 
institute a self-examination as to whether he is exercising his 
unclouded and unprejudiced judgment. Gentlemen, I would 
exhort you earnestly to prosecute your researches and speculations 
with a fair and liberal feeling towards the views of others, and 
especially with an unflinching obedience to the laws of inductive 
philosophy. Every geologist, who takes an impartial review of 
the history of his own mind with reference to geological opinions, 
will probably feel that what is termed consistency of opinion would 
frequently have been in his own case persistency in error. I feel 
the more entitled to make these remarks, from the consciousness 
of having resigned much of my own early convictions respecting 
the glacial theory ; and I make them in immediate connection 
with the subject before us, because I believe that much remains 
to be done in these superficial deposits before we can completely 
interpret them; and I believe also, that for our progress towards 
sound opinion and unity of view respecting them, ability and 
fidelity in the observer will scarcely be more necessary than that 
fairness and candour without which he will assuredly fail to bring 
his observations as true tests of the different views with which 
the subject is at present perplexed. Let us not seek for mere 
possibilities in support of antecedent opinions, but submit our 
views constantly to the test of enlarged experience and careful 
induction. There may be, doubtless, a stage in the progress of 
science in which new views, thrown out at random, and the advo- 
cacy of individual opinion with somewhat more than philosophical 
pertinacity, may be effective in the development of truth; but 
there is assuredly also another and more advanced stage of science, 
in which such habits of mind can only retard and embarrass its 
progress, and impede our arrival at those ultimate truths which 
it may be our object to establish. At this latter stage I believe 
the science of geology to have arrived ; and if by these remarks I 
should induce one speculative geologist to watch with increased 
rigour the reasoning by which he arrives at his convictions, I shall 
perhaps have done more for our science than I can do by any 
detailed information which an occasion of this nature may enable 
me to bring before you. 

I shall now direct your attention to some of the leading cha- 
racters, of the great mass of drift which extends over so large a 
portion of northern Europe. And first I shall speak of the stritv 
which so abound in the northern part of the region in question. 
When regarded with reference to a limited area, their directions 
might be described as characterised by the law of parallelism ; but 

On Drift. 7 

when regarded with reference to the whole region, we find them 
really characterised by the law of divergency. To those observers 
who had not examined the striae on the shores of the North Sea, 
some point lying to the north of those shores, and nearly in the 
direction of Spitzbergen, seemed best to represent the centre of this 
divergence ; but subsequently M. Bohtlingk observed striae de- 
scending from Kemi eastward to Onega Bay, on the shores of which 
it is situated ; and on the northern coast of Lapland he also ob- 
served them descending from the high lands northward to the sea. 
These observations have also been corroborated by other observers. 
Around the district comprising the mountains of Scandinavia striae 
appear to exist, directed to almost every point of the compass, and 
the characters of their divergency generally for the whole region 
may be considered as established. 

The directions in which the detrital matter has moved in its 
transport across a particuhi locality cannot, of course, be ascer- 
tained with entirely the sam accuracy as those of the striae ; but 
the erratic blocks can in numberless instances be identified with 
the rocks of a particular locality, and thus the mean direction in 
which a particular block has travelled, can be determined with 
great accuracy. All the blocks, however, originating in the same 
locality have not been transported in the same direction. M. Du- 
rocher has noticed especially a granular granite, easy to be recog- 
nised, of which the original site is in the department of Vibourg in 
Finland. The extreme directions in which the blocks have proceeded 
from this spot comprise an angle nearly equal to two right angles. 
The mean direction, however, of these blocks, and that along which, 
or nearly so, the greatest number have proceeded, is very approxi- 
mately coincident with the directions of the striae along the same 
line. A similar law holds with respect to other blocks which can 
be traced to their respective original sites. It may, therefore, be 
asserted as a law in this region, that the general or mean direc- 
tions of transport are approximately coincident with the directions 
of the striae. 

If we refer to the analogous phenomena of Scotland, we find the 
general law which characterises them is exactly that above enun- 
ciated ; but when we examine the details of this latter case, it ap- 
pears that the general law is only approximately true, for the law 
of divergency does not accurately hold with reference to one gene- 
ral centre, but with reference to a number of particular centres. 
This I have proved in the memoir on the granitic blocks of the 
South Highlands of Scotland, inserted in the last Number of our 
Journal, with respect to the granitic nucleus of Ben Cruachan, and 
that of the group of mountains immediately on the west of the 
northern part of Ben Lomond. To complete our knowledge of the 
Scandinavian striae, it is necessary to ascertain whether such par- 
ticular centres are found also in the mountainous district of that 

8 On Drift. 

region. This is one of the points to which I would especially di- 
rect the attention of observers. 

So long as we restrict ourselves to the Highlands of Scotland, 
we easily recognise the circumstances which have determined the 
particular directions which the blocks have taken. They have fol- 
lowed the valleys which must have existed previously to their dis- 
persion, wherever those valleys were sufficiently defined to govern 
the operation of the transporting agents. And this would appear 
also to have been the case in the more immediate vicinity of the 
Scandinavian chain. We may consider the striae, then, to repre- 
sent the general direction of transport, and we find them, as laid 
down on the map of M. Sefstrom, exactly coinciding with the di- 
rections of the river-valleys descending from the mountains. So 
perfect a coincidence leaves little doubt of the influence of the pre- 
existing valleys in the direction of transport. But as we recede 
from the mountainous district, even in the limited space between 
the Highlands and the eastern coast of Scotland, the configuration 
of the country no longer presents, in many parts, those determin- 
ate features which would necessarily give a definite direction to the 
masses transported across it ; and how much more is this true 
with respect to the wide-spread plains of northern Russia and of 
northern Germany ! And yet, in all these cases, the directions of 
the striae obey, with wonderful regularity, the same law of diver- 
gency as those nearer to the central chain. We may easily under- 
stand how glaciers would descend down the mountain- valleys, and, 
after reaching the level of the sea, how the ice would float along 
the submarine continuation of the same valleys, leaving striae along 
them, without the power of deviating from a fixed direction ; but 
after having escaped from the valleys on the immediate flanks of 
the central mountains, what cause can have operated to drive for- 
ward through the more open sea these masses of ice, or the masses 
of other materials which may have been the striating and groov- 
ing agents, in the same continuous direction, and with such a force 
and determination that they could not be turned aside by the nu- 
merous projecting bosses of solid rock on which they have so ef- 
fectively engraved the record of their transit % According to the 
hypothesis which we shall probably all be ready to adopt, the more 
elevated parts of the Scandinavian range must, at the period we 
are referring to, have formed an island, round which ordinary 
ocean-currents may possibly have passed in any direction ; but the 
notion of such ordinary currents diverging in such various direc- 
tions radiating from the central portion of this Scandinavian island, 
can only be spoken of as an absurdity. And yet no other force 
has ever been suggested, or is perhaps conceivable, except that of 
currents, as efficient to drive large icebergs or a mass of looser 
materials in a determinate direction, in defiance of numerous op- 
posing obstacles. It appears to me, therefore, that we are driven 
to the alternative either of rejecting all theory on the subject, or 

On Drift. 9 

of adopting that which would attribute these currents to waves of 
elevation, resulting from frequent, sudden, but not extensive ver- 
tical movements of the central range of elevated land ; movements 
which we may conceive to have been thus repeated while the mean 
movement of the whole region was one either of gradual depres- 
sion or of elevation. 

And here I would make an observation which may not perhaps 
be without its theoretical value. Adopting this view of the sub- 
ject, we may conceive the centres of the elevatory movements to 
have been different at different times, and consequently the direc- 
tions of the corresponding currents produced by them to have 
been different, as in fact they would appear to have been from the 
different directions in which the transported matter has been 
driven from the same original site. But the movements which 
would send forth the greatest quantity of floating ice would be 
those which more immediately affected the line of coast ; and the 
coast being deeply indented, as it must have been, by the present 
river- valleys when submerged, torrents would be simultaneously 
discharged from their mouths which would determine, in a mate- 
rial degree, the resulting current in the open sea ; and since these 
valley- currents would necessarily have always the same directions, 
they would tend to impress approximately the same constant 
direction on the resulting ocean-current, ; whatever might be the 
precise centre of the elevatory movement. This influence, however, 
would, of course, be principally felt at points least remote from 
the then existing coasts. 

When we pass to the great field of northern drift which the 
continent of North America presents to us, it is not perhaps 
without some feeling of disappointment that we find the directions 
of the striae and those of transport without any distinct character 
of divergency either from local centres or from a general one. 
The observations described in Dr Bigsby's paper on the " Erratics 
of Canada," were made before the importance of striated and 
polished rocks had been recognised, or we should doubtless have 
obtained much valuable information respecting them from so care- 
ful an observer. We learn, however, from the American geo- 
logists, that the strise preserve an approximate parallelism in a 
north-westerly and south-easterly direction over the north-eastern 
part of the North American continent, and that the erratic, blocks 
and other transported matter have come in the same direction. 
In northern Europe, when the striating agents had quitted the 
Scandinavian mountains, they met with no other mountains of 
sufficient magnitude to impede their general course, or materially 
modify the directions of movement ; but in America the striation, 
according to the American geologists, has been carried not only 
transversely but obliquely over some of their highest mountains, 
without material deviation from its normal direction, except along 

10 On Drift. 

or near the bottoms of some of the valleys, in which cases the 
direction of the striae nearly coincides with those of the valleys. 

This coincidence of direction in the lower parts of the valleys 
is exactly what we should expect, and is accordant with the cha- 
racter of the like phenomena in Europe; and the persistency of 
transverse oblique directions in the striae over the upper parts of 
elevated tracts presents no difficulty ; for so long as the striating 
agent (as an iceberg) should only come in contact with those upper 
parts, its operations could not be influenced by the depths of the 
valleys below. But what takes place at intermediate heights 
between the bottoms of the valleys and the tops of the mountains % 
It is impossible to suppose, if the side of a mountain were striated 
in every part, that while the striae at the bottom should be parallel 
to the lateral valley or axis of the mountain, and those at the top 
should be, for instance, perpendicular to it, the strise at inter- 
mediate heights should not have some intermediate directions in 
passing from one extreme limit to the other. Careful observations 
ought to be made on this point. The height to which the striae 
preserve their parallelism with the valleys below, and the distance 
from the tops of the higher ridges across which they preserve 
their transverse directions should be most carefully noted. Nor 
ought any geologist, in a delicate question of this kind, to trust 
to vague measurements and general impressions. Every direction 
ought to be carefully taken, and as carefully laid down on a good 
physical map, together with the dip and strike of the striated 
surface. The general configuration, too, of the immediate vicinity 
should be described, with reference to its probable influence on 
the motion of any mass to which the strise may be attributable. 
Again, it has been said that in many cases the lee side and storm 
side of an elevated ridge are sometimes equally marked by striae 
transverse to its direction. This seems entirely at variance with 
our observations on this side of the Atlantic, except in those cases 
in which the striae are attributable to local action, in contradis- 
tinction to that more general action of such agents as masses of 
ice, for instance, driven in one direction over the whole region 
from NW. to SE. I have not hitherto been able to represent 
to myself the physical possibility of striae on the lee side remote 
from the top of the ridge, having been produced by the general 
action just referred to. May they not have been more frequently 
due to local action than has been suspected ? The glacial theories, 
on* their first introduction, did not, I think, make so much im- 
pression on the minds of American as on those of European geo- 
logists, and many of the recorded observations of striated rocks 
were made, if I mistake not, under impressions very unfavourable 
to those theories. Let me not be thought by this remark to cast 
a reflection on American geologists — men to whom our science 
owes so much, and from whom it expects so much more in the 

On Drift. 11 

noble field in which they are labouring ; but we shall all do well, 
gentlemen, in learning to doubt the completeness of our observa- 
tions on difficult and controverted points when made under the 
strong impressions of antecedent convictions. What I am espe- 
cially anxious for is to see the American geologists resuming their 
observations in all possible detail on this interesting subject, and 
with candid reference to the different physical causes to which 
smoothed and striated rocks have been attributed. There are few 
phenomena more likely to elucidate the mixed and perplexing 
operations of the period to which they must be referred. In 
northern Europe M. Sefstrom has set us an admirable example, 
by his careful and exact manner of making his observations, and 
of mapping the results of them. There is still much room for 
following out similar observations in the Scandinavian regions. 
In our own islands, too, in Ireland, we have a field in which much 
yet remains to be done. The observations on these points by my 
friend Mr Griffith were made, as he has told me, a considerable 
time ago, and incidentally rather than as forming a leading object 
in his researches. It is not, therefore, to be expected that they 
should be sufficient to satisfy the present requirements of the 
science. If by these remarks, gentlemen, I should perchance lead 
any geologist to reflect on the geological importance of this sub- 
ject, and to make and record his observations upon it with more 
than ordinary accuracy, I feel that I shall be attaining one of the 
best objects for the accomplishment of which an address of this 
kind may be rendered useful. 

I shall now proceed to make a few observations on the arrange- 
ment of the materials which constitute the drift of Northern Europe. 
Though in many cases this arrangement seems very confused, as 
we might expect it to be, there does appear to be frequently a de- 
cided predominance of finer material in the lower, and of coarser 
material in the upper portion. The lower mass frequently con- 
sists of fine argillaceous and arenaceous sediment, sometimes mixed 
with rolled pebbles, and reposing immediately on the polished and 
striated rocks. Taking the whole area of deposition in Norway, 
Denmark, Sweden, Northern Russia, and Northern Germany, the 
materials above described constitute the great mass of the drift ; 
and on this mass generally the large erratic blocks are superin- 
cumbent, though many blocks are also found imbedded within its 
mass. The submarine origin of the general mass is rendered une- 
quivocal by the organic remains which it is found in various loca- 
lities to contain. 

The boundary of the area over which this enormous mass of 
detrital matter has been deposited proceeds from a point east of 
the White Sea towards the south-east, until it touches on one 
point only on the Ural Mountains, whence it proceeds south of 
Moscow to the Carpathian Mountains, and includes the whole of 

12 On Drift. 

Northern Germany. Throughout Russia and Poland it is laid 
down in the map which accompanies the " Geology of Russia." 
Independently of its zigzag irregularities, it may be considered 
approximately as the circumference of a circle, having its centre 
near the northern extremity of the Gulf of Bothnia. A very 
large majority of the blocks dispersed over this immense area can 
be distinctly referred to their Scandinavian origin, thus shewing 
in a remarkable manner the centrifugal or radiating action already 
mentioned of the forces by which this dispersion has been effected. 

The granite-boulders seem to have been in this, as in so many 
other cases, the best travellers. They constitute the greater part 
of the blocks in the external zone of the drift. But it is of more 
importance to remark, that whatever may be the nature of the 
blocks, they become almost universally smaller and more rounded 
as we approach the external boundary above indicated. This 
seems to me conclusive as to the nature of the transporting agency 
in this outer zone. I can conceive water alone to be capable of 
giving these characters to the transported materials. On the con- 
trary, as we approach the central portion of this region of drift, 
we find the blocks of enormous size, perfectly angular, and not 
unfrequently imbedded in masses of fine drift, indicative of the 
absence, at the time of its deposition, of any violent currents 
capable of moving the blocks imbedded in it. In this we recog- 
nise the transport by floating ice. And again, on the central land, 
we recognise glaciers as the source of the floating ice, and the 
means of transporting large angular blocks from their original sites 
on the mountains to the level of the ocean. 

You will not suppose, gentlemen, that, in stating these conclu- 
sions, I regard myself as opening new views to you. My object 
is merely to present the subject to you in a general but compen- 
dious form, in the hope that I may thus lead you to contemplate 
its various points collectively, and to see how much they are 
brought into harmony with each other by a distinct recognition of 
the three causes above mentioned, and a due allotment of the 
varied phenomena of the drift to their respective modes of trans- 

The authors of the " Geology of Russia" consider the present 
boundary of the region of the drift in North-eastern Russia as indi- 
cating the approximate boundary of the glacial sea in that region 
during the drift-period, and this conclusion appears to me per- 
fectly legitimate. They also consider the low, flat lands of North- 
ern Asia to have been, about the same period, under the sea. 
In favour of this view, there appears to be the unequivocal, though 
not perhaps abundant, evidence of marine remains. There seems 
to be no evidence, however, of a submergence of this region ap- 
proximating in depth to that of many parts of the European con- 
tinent; the present low lands were probably covered only with 

On Drift. 13 

shallow water. And hence we may conclude that Northern Asia 
was in a state of comparative repose during the period of much 
greater oscillation, and probably of more frequent and compara- 
tively violent disturbance of the European area. Again, no traces 
of former glaciers have been detected on the Ural Mountains, or 
on the projecting headlands which run out to the northward from 
the high lands of Northern and Central Asia. This former absence 
of glaciers during our glacial period, in a region now so much 
colder than Europe, appears at first sight a great anomaly. It 
presents, however, no real difficulty, because those very causes 
which I believe to have produced the glacial cold of Europe would 
necessarily diminish the cold of Northern Asia, and more especially 
that portion of it immediately east of the Ural chain, as I have 
explained in my paper " On the Causes of Changes of Terrestrial 
Temperature." This effect would be due to the extension of the 
Atlantic Ocean to the eastward, so that the region of the Ural 
would become part of the western shores of the old continent, and 
would experience climatal influences similar, though far less in 
degree, to those now experienced in our own region. Hence what 
I have termed the line of 32° F. would be higher in North-western 
Asia than at present. On tlie other hand, the extension of the 
ocean to the eastward would lessen the great difference which now 
exists in Northern Asia between the summer and winter tempera- 
tures ; and on this account the height of the snow-line above the 
line of 32° would be diminished. Consequently the absolute 
height of the snow-line would be increased by the first cause and 
diminished by the second, and would probably be not very different 
from its present height, though it might possibly be somewhat 
less. Now, since the configuration of the mountains was probably 
very nearly the same at the glacial epoch as now, the existence of 
glaciers upon them would depend upon the height of the snow- 
line ; and, that height not being materially altered, there is no 
more reason why glaciers should have existed there at the more 
remote than at the present epoch ; and at present we know that 
there are none in the Ural chain as far as the 70th degree of lati- 
tude,* and none on the mountains of Northern Asia descending 
nearly low enough to reach the level of the shallow sea, which we 
suppose to have covered the low lands of that region during the 
glacial period. 

This former absence of glaciers, and the comparative repose of 
Northern Asia during our glacial epoch, are sufficient to account 
for what appears at first sight extremely anomalous — the fact, that 
while on the west of the Ural mountains we have a district covered 
with enormous erratic blocks, there is scarcely a single block to be 
found on the east of that chain at any distance from its original 

* Geology of Russia. 

14 O/i Drift. 

site, the whole mass of detrital matter, too, being very small, and 
principally referable to merely local causes. 

I cannot quit this part of our subject without reminding you of 
the lucid manner in which the authors of the ' Geology of Rus- 
sia' have pointed out how well the above state of Northern Asia, 
accords with the supposed existence of Mammoths during the gla- 
cial epoch, and how happily Sir Charles Lyell and Professor Owen 
explained the capabilities of those animals to sustain the hardships 
of a cold climate. But before the publication of Dove's Map of 
Isothermal Lines, we had no adequate means of accurately esti- 
mating the effect of such conditions as those above assumed on the 
climate of North-western Asia. The extension of the Atlantic 
Ocean nearly to the foot of the Ural chain would heighten consi- 
derably the mean annual temperature of the neighbouring land, 
especially if the height of that chain was lower than at present, as 
Sir R. Murchison supposes it to have been at the period in ques- 
tion. But the great effect would consist in the lessening of the 
enormous existing difference between the summer and winter tem- 
peratures already alluded to. The winter temperature would, doubt- 
less, be very much moderated : and, therefore, any difficulty of 
conceiving how great Pachyderms could exist through a Siberian 
winter is in a great degree removed. Again, a much more ade- 
quate reason is thus assigned for their subsequent disappearance 
from that region. The cause to which this fact has been attri- 
buted, is an increase of cold, arising from some additional elevation 
of the Ural chain, and a rise of the region in general to the amount 
of a few hundred feet. I believe it, however, to be certain that 
these causes alone could produce but little influence on the cli^ 
mate ; but, if we unite with them the withdrawal of the ocean 
from the Ural chain within its present limits, we have an adequate 
cause for changing the climate from one much more equable than 
at present to the extreme of a continental one ; from a climate in 
which the mammoth might exist, to one in which its existence dur- 
ing the winter would be no longer possible. This would seem to 
afford a very adequate cause for the disappearance of the mam- 
moths from the Siberian region ; why they should not still have 
sought a refuge in lands somewhat more southerly, which must 
still have been open to them, may be a question of more difficult 

With respect to the order of events connected with the glacial 
epoch, conclusions have sometimes been drawn which do not ap- 
pear to me altogether warranted by the observed phenomena. The 
striated and polished rocks, as fixed rocks in situ, must necessarily 
be subjacent, where they exist, to the lowest beds of the drift, fre- 
quently consisting of fine argillaceous and arenaceous matter. It 
has been hence inferred that the process of striating and polishing 
these subjacent rocks must have been altogether anterior to the 

On Drift. 15 

whole process of deposition of the finer matter, each of these pro- 
cesses occupying distinct and separate intervals of time. No one 
would, of course, suppose that the matter reposing on a given sur- 
face of striated rock could have heen deposited there before that 
surface became striated ; but the real question is, whether these 
two processes of striating and depositing were not going on simul- 
taneously in the region generally, though not absolutely the same 
points. If the stride be due, as some geologists have supposed, to 
detrital matter driven by a rapid current, the two processes must 
of necessity have been simultaneous, the one where the current 
was most rapid, the other where it was less so. Or if we refer the 
striae in the lower and natter regions of the area of the drift to 
floating ice, how was it that the icebergs and the currents which 
impelled them onwards bore no detrital matter at that time, and so 
much at a subsequent time 1 I conceive the two processes to 
have gone on simultaneously. No agency for the production of 
striated and polished surfaces has ever yet been suggested which 
would not almost necessarily be accompanied with the transport, and 
consequently with the deposition of detrital matter. Currents and 
small icebergs might deposit from time to time detrital matter on a 
given rock- surface, but the first iceberg that succeeded, large enough 
to reach down to that surface and grind over it, would clear away 
the detritus previously deposited upon it, and smooth and striate 
the rock itself. This might be repeated for a long period of time, 
during which the process of striating the projecting surfaces might 
be contemporaneous with that of permanent deposition at points 
almost immediately contiguous, but at lower levels. Finally, sup- 
posing a continued subsidence of the general area, the projecting 
striated bosses would sink below the reach of the icebergs, and the 
transport of matter still continuing, would become permanently 
covered up. As the general area re-emerged it would be subject 
to denudation, which might be expected to lay bare again some of 
the striated rocks, and leave others permanently covered with de- 
trital matter as we now find them. 

Again, with reference to the combined operations of floating ice 
and currents, it is not unworthy of remark that the former would 
necessarily deposit least of its freight, cceteris paribus, in its unim- 
peded motion over deeper waters, and a greater part in its impeded 
course over shallow bottoms. On the contrary, currents would 
deposit least on the shallow bottoms, where, cceteris paribus, their 
velocity would be greatest, and most in the deeper waters ; and, 
moreover, it would be in these deeper waters that the finer matter 
would be deposited. Thus the existence of beds of finer and in 
many cases stratified deposits, having more tumultuous deposits, 
possibly both above and below them, as in some parts of North 
America, does not necessarily indicate a cessation in the more en- 
ergetic action of the forces of dispersion, but may merely indicate 

10 On Drift. 

deposition in a deeper sea. If also, large angular blocks from dis- 
tant sites should be imbedded in this mass of finer matter, we see 
an additional indication of a deep sea, in which a floating iceberg 
would, perhaps, at distant intervals, drop a portion of its freight. 

There is also a consideration connected with the process of 
transport by certain currents alone, which, with reference to our 
inferences as to the succession of events, is of some importance. I 
have mentioned it in my memoir " On the Granitic Blocks of the 
South Highlands of Scotland," which appears in the last Number 
of our Journal. Currents attending waves produced by sudden 
elevations, greater or less, are necessarily transitory, and each can 
only carry the materials it may transport to certain distances, de- 
pending, cceteris paribus, on the magnitudes of the component in- 
dividual masses, the large blocks being carried but to small dis- 
tances, and the smaller particles to much greater distances, t Thus 
the first wave would produce a layer consisting of the larger blocks 
near their source and of fine detritus at the remoter distances. The 
second wave would produce a similar effect, and would also carry 
the blocks of the first wave to a somewhat greater distance, and so 
on for successive waves. The effect, then, of a succession of simi- 
lar waves would be the formation, over the more remote parts of 
the area of deposition, of a bed of finer matter, in the upper por- 
tion of which would exist blocks rounded and waterworn by their 
transit. Thus we should have the phenomena of fine detrital matter 
below and blocks above, apparently referable to several successive 
periods of time, during the first of which one kind of agency should 
have transported the finer sediment, and during the second another 
and much more powerful agency should have transported the blocks 
and coarser detritus, while, in fact, the whole phenomena would be 
really referable to a repetition of precisely the same agency during 
the whole period of transport. That period, therefore, except in a 
limited sense, and not with reference to the whole area of trans- 
port, could not, in the case now supposed, be divided into two, but 
must be regarded as one single period. 

I do not mean here to assert the opinion that the actual glacial 
period recognised by geologists was characterised by a uniform suc- 
cession of exactly similar events producing erratic dispersion. 
There might be particular portions of that period in which acci- 
dental circumstances produced a greater or less prevalence of each 
particular mode of transport ; but I am satisfied that some of the 
attempts which have been made to subdivide the glacial period 
have been made without due regard to such considerations as those 
which I have given above. 

Let us now turn again to the drift of North America. The 
American geologists appear for the most part to recognise three 
distinct periods into which the whole period of the drift may be di- 
vided. The first period was one of the transport of blocks and 

On Drift. 17 

coarse materials ; the second one of tranquil deposition ; and the 
third was again a period of transport of large blocks and coarser 
matter. This generalization appears to have been principally 
founded on the characters of the drift of Lake Champlain and that 
of the general valley of the St Lawrence, where the beds of the 
second period not only consist, in great part, of finer matter, but 
are also, in many instances, distinctly stratified, and filled with or- 
ganic remains. But before we can adopt these subdivisions of the 
general period with reference to so many distinct modes of action 
of the transporting agencies, or of the different degrees of intensity 
with which they acted, it will be necessary to prove the above-men- 
tioned succession of beds to be general and not merely local. If local, 
I should be disposed to refer the tranquil deposition of the fossili- 
ferous and associated beds, partly at least, to the condition of a 
deeper abmergence than at the periods of the transport of the 
coarser beds and blocks above and below the finer beds. I see no 
reason, in local facts of this kind, to infer that there were three dis- 
tinct periods with reference to the intensity or mode of action of 
the dispersing forces. I may here observe that Dr Bigsby de- 
tected no evidence of this subdivision of the drift in the region 
which he examined further to the west. 

Some of the American geologists appear to have entertained the 
opinion that the Mastodon existed in that region after the latest 
period of the drift, and seem to refer its final destruction to some 
upheaval of the American continent. It may be doubted, how- 
ever, whether any evidence has been offered of the existence of 
that animal later than the latest drift in which its remains are 
found ; nor do I understand how the cause just assigned could ef- 
fect its final extinction. If, however, we admit the submergence 
of that continent to the extent which many geologists are now dis- 
posed to admit, there can be no difficulty in explaining the ex- 
tinction of any of the great pachyderms which might have pre- 
viously inhabited that region.* 

II. On the Causes of Change in the Earth's Superficial 
The next paper to which I shall call your attention, although 
not directly on the subject of the drift, may be considered as closely 
associated with it, one of its principal objects being to account for 
the peculiar climatal conditions of the glacial period — that period 
to which geologists now universally refer the general phenomena 
of drift. I allude to the paper which I have myself brought re- 

* To this account of Drift, there follow in the Address, numerous details re- 
garding the drift of North America, Europe, and Australia, for which we have 
no spare space at present. The alluvial gold of the Diggings — the curse of our 
time — is noticed as to priority of discovery. Geologists appear to have had 
little to say in this business — and so much the better. — Editor. 

VOL. LIII. NO. CV. — JULY 1852. B 

IS On the Causes of Change in the 

centl v before you, " On the Causes of Change in the Earth's Super- 
ficial Temperature ." You will recollect that, until very recently, 
the only change of climate which had been recognised by geologists 
as having taken place during the earth's geological history was one 
from a higher to a lower temperature, and, for those who believed 
in the primitive heat of the globe, that heat afforded one obvious 
cause for this higher temperature at remote geological epochs. 
When, however, an examination of the phenomena of the glacial 
epoch rendered it necessary to recognise a change of climate in our 
own region of the globe from a lower temperature during that 
period to a higher subsequent temperature, new conditions were 
added to the problem, which rendered the cause formerly assigned 
manifestly inadequate for its solution. Two other causes, how- 
ever, had been previously suggested, which might possibly ac- 
count, not only for a change from a higher to a lower superficial 
terrestrial temperature, but also for oscillatory changes. One of 
these assigned causes rested on the hypotheses of motion of the 
whole solar system in space, and the variable temperature of the 
different regions through which it might thus pass ; the other cause 
assigned was the influence of different configurations of land and 
sea on the climatal state of particular portions of the earth's sur- 
face. Thus of the three causes above alluded to, speaking of them 
with reference to the earth's surface, one was internal, another ex- 
ternal, and the third superficial. No attempt, however, had been 
made to examine the efficiency of these different causes to account 
for all the phenomena which may be referable to them. It was 
to remedy this defect that I undertook the investigations contained 
in the paper of which I am speaking. 

Assuming the primitive temperature of the globe to have been 
very much greater than at present, there is manifestly no difficulty 
in accounting for any higher superficial temperature" than the pre- 
sent, at past epochs, provided those epochs be sufficiently remote. 
They must, however, be exceedingly remote to enable us thus to 
account for a variation of temperature which should sensibly affect 
the climatal conditions in any part of the earth. The terrestrial 
temperature, to the depth of about 70 feet, varies with the pro- 
gress of the seasons, the variation becoming less as the depth is 
greater, until, at about the depth just mentioned, it is no longer 
sensible, so that a thermometer placed there would indicate a con- 
stant temperature during the whole year. A second thermometer 
at a greater depth would also indicate a constant temperature 
throughout the year, but higher than that indicated by the pre- 
ceding one. If this second thermometer were placed at a still 
greater depth, it would indicate a still higher constant tempera- 
ture ; and the increase of temperature between the two thermo- 
meters would be proportional to the distance between them, i.e., 
the temperature in descending below th? first thermometer would 
increase at a constant uniform rale 

Earth's Superficial Temperature. 19 

Again, if the cooling of the earth were to continue for an inde- 
finite period of time, assuming the temperature of external space, 
the sun, and the earth's atmosphere, to remain as at present, the 
superficial temperature would approximate indefinitely near to a 
certain limit. The difference between that limit and the earth's 
present superficial temperature is the effect due to the remains of 
the primitive heat. Now theory gives us a simple relation be- 
tween the amount of this effect and the rate of increase above- 
mentioned as we descend below the earth's surface.* Consequently, 
knowing the one, we can immediately determine the other, and 
thus, having ascertained the above rate of increase, we know the 
amount of superficial temperature which is now due to the earth^s 
primeval heat, assuming always that heat to be the cause of the 
existing internal temperature of the globe. This amount is thus 
proved not to exceed about the ^ th of a centesimal degree, so nearly 
has the earth's superficial temperature approximated to that ulti- 
mate limit beyond which it could never descend, supposing exter- 
nal conditions to remain the same. It was calculated by Poisson 
that, to reduce the superficial temperature by one half of the above 
amount, or g 1 ^ th of a centesimal degree, it would require the enor- 
mous period of one hundred thousand millions of years. It would, 
doubtless, require us to go back into the past some such immense 
period as this to arrive at the epoch when the superficial tempera- 
ture should have exceeded its present amount by even one or two 
degrees. At the same time the rate of increase of temperature in 
descending beneath the surface would be much more rapid than at 
present. If the superficial temperature amounted to 2° C. above 
its ultimate limit, instead of being ^th of a degree, the rate at 
which the temperature would increase in descending would be about 
sixty times as great as at present, i. e., there would be an increase 
of 1° C. for little more than one foot of depth. 

It must be recollected that this state of terrestrial temperature, 
if due to the cause we are considering, could only have existed at 
times which, even in a geological sense, must have been extremely 
remote. The important peculiarity of this state of the earth would 
seem to consist in the simultaneous existence of a superficial tem- 
perature, and therefore of climatal conditions, very nearly the same 
as at present, with an internal temperature at the depth of a few 
hundred feet and upwards, immensely greater than at present. If 
we suppose the process of sedimentary deposition to have been then 
going on, we may understand how great an effect might be pro- 
duced by this internal temperature in the metamorphism of the 
earlier sedimentary beds. 

* If /denote the excess of the present superficial temperature above the final 
limit to which the temperature would descend in an indefinite period of time, 
and g the rate of increase of temperature mentioned in the text, we have 

— =6, whore h is nearly equal to unity. 

9 b2 

20 On the Causes of Change in the 

The temperature of any point in stellar space is that which 
would be indicated by a thermometer at that point receiving the 
heat radiating from all the stars composing the universe. The 
temperature of all bodies must necessarily be affected by this 
radiation, and in different degrees, according to the positions in 
space which they may occupy. Hence Poisson was led to adopt 
the notion that the actual temperature of the earth, whether super- 
ficial or internal, is due to the circumstance of the solar system 
having passed through a warmer region than that which it now 
occupies, in the course of that motion by which astronomers gene- 
rally believe it to be constantly moving from one part of space to 
another. What may have been the possible effect of this cause in 
the lapse of indefinite time, it is impossible to say ; but I cannot 
understand how it could be very considerable without a totally 
different distribution of the group of stars to which the sun should 
belong, or the near approach of the solar system to some indivi- 
dual star. The latter hypothesis, however, would be inconsistent 
with the integrity of the solar system as it now exists, if we sup- 
pose the proximity to any single star to become such as to produce 
any material modification of terrestrial climate ; and perhaps it 
may be difficult to conceive how the first hypothesis should escape 
a similar objection. At all events, it maybe regarded as certain, 
that according to neither of these hypotheses can any considerable 
effects have been produced by this cause on terrestrial temperature 
within the later tertiary period, and that we cannot thus account 
for the cold of the glacial epoch. 

In considering the influence of the third cause, — that of the 
configuration of land and sea, — I have endeavoured to ascertain 
approximately what would be the climatal conditions, more espe- 
cially in western Europe, in the four following hypothetical 
cases : — 

1. The configuration of land and sea the same as at present, 
but without the Gulf Stream. 

2. The Gulf Stream the same as at present, except that its pro- 
gress into the North Sea is supposed to be arrested by a barrier of 
land, extending from the North of Scotland to Iceland, and thence 
to the coast of Greenland. 

3. The basin of the Atlantic from the Tropic to the North Sea 
converted into land, uniting the old and new continents. 

4. Large portions of the continents of Europe and North Ame- 
rica submerged beneath the surface of the ocean, and the Gulf 
Stream directed into some other course. 

By a study of Dove's admirable Map of Isothermal Lines, we 
easily recognise the masses of land in the northern parts of the 
old and new continents, and the Gulf Stream as the principal 
causes of the abnormal forms of the isothermal s in the higher 
latitudes of the northern hemisphere. In like manner the irre- 

Earth's Superficial Temperature. 


gular forms of the known isothermals of the southern hemisphere, 
extending to about the latitude of 50°, may be seen to be attri- 
butable to similar causes, more especially, perhaps, in this case to 
well-known ocean-currents ; and a knowledge of these causes 
enables us to draw the isothermals in such hypothetical cases as 
those above stated with approximate accuracy. This is what I 
have first attempted to do in the memoir before us. 

Taking the first case, I arrive at the results embodied in the 
following table : — 

At present, 

with the 
Gulf Stream. 


Without the 


The Alps. 

Temperature for January, . . . 

July, .... 

Mean annual temperature, . . . 

38 F.\ 
73 I 
55-5 J 



34 F. ) 
73 1 
53-5 / 



Temperature for January, . . . 

July, .... 

Mean annual temperature, . . . 

38 F. ^ 
49-5 J 


23 F.I 


42 J 


Northern Extremity of Scotland. 

Temperature for January, . 

... July, .... 
Mean annual temperature, . . . 

36-5 F. 1 
56 \ 
46-25 J 


12 F. ) 
56 \ 
34 ) 


Centre of Iceland. 

Temperature for January, . 

July, .... 


30 F. 1 
52 J 


-4F. \ 
46 J 


Mean annual temperature,* . . 

In the case in which the Gulf Stream is supposed to exist, but 
its progress into the North Sea to be arrested by a continuous 
barrier of land, I have shewn that the winter temperature of the 
coast of Iceland would probably be increased 6° or 7° F., and that 
the January isothermal would probably run nearly north and 
south from Iceland to the latitude of Central France. You will 
recollect that a former littoral or sub-littoral communication be- 
tween the western coasts of Europe and the eastern coasts of 
America is rendered probable by a certain community of specific 
forms in those localities. My object in considering the effect of 

* This is deduced from the mean of the monthly temperatures. The mean 
annual temperatures above given for the other cases are almost identical with 
those deduced from the monthly temperatures. The discrepancy of 3° in the 
case of Iceland may be attributed to local peculiarities. 

22 On the Causes of Change in the 

the configuration of land above-mentioned, is to determine how 
far it might afford this littoral communication with a temperature 
of the ocean sufficiently high to admit of the dissemination along 
it of the species alluded to. 

The next case is that in which the basin of the Atlantic should 
be converted into dry land, so as to unite the old and new conti- 
nents. This would give to our own region the extreme continental 
climate of Northern and Central Asia. According to my estimate, 
we should then have for Snowdon, 

Temperature of January . . 7° F. 1 ^. w - Q0 _ 
July .... 66°-5 ) Dlfk ' 16 b ' 
Mean annual temperature . 29°*75 

The summer temperature would be increased 5°-5 F., but the 
winter temperature would be reduced 45°, and the mean annual 
temperature 20°. 

In discussing the fourth case, in which the Gulf Stream is not 
supposed to exist on our own shores, and a great part of Europe 
is assumed to be submerged beneath the ocean, I have shewn that 
the mean annual temperature would be very nearly the same in 
western Europe and in the latitude of Snowdon, as in the case 
above considered of simply the absence of the Gulf Stream. The 
conditions under which the Welsh and Irish mountains would be 
placed, supposing them extant above the sea while the neighbouring 
region was submerged, would be very similar to the existing 
conditions of the Falkland Islands, and the island of S. Georgia; 
and a comparison with these islands leads me to conclude that the 
estimate above given of the mean annual temperature of Snowdon 
(42° F.) is two or three degrees too high. I have considered 39° 
or 40° F. to be a nearer estimate. In fact, a great part of the 
misconception which has existed respecting the possible past tem- 
perature of this region has arisen from our regarding its present 
temperature as the normal temperature for our own latitude, and 
that of places like the island of S. Georgia, in corresponding south 
latitudes, as the abnormal temperature ; whereas the exact reverse 
of this is the actual case. 

Having determined the positions of the isothermal lines for any 
particular hypothetical case, we can determine, for that case, the 
mean annual temperature at any assigned place. The object 
which I have next preposed to myself in this paper is more espe- 
cially to determine the conditions under which glaciers would exist 
in those parts of western Europe where traces of their former 
existence have been observed. The principle on which I have 
proceeded is easily explained. The snow-line is that line on the 
side of a mountain which forms the highest limit to which the 
boundary of the snow ascends during the year. It bears an im- 
portant relation to all glaciers, being that limit below which the 

Earth's Superficial Temperature. 23 

glacier receives no permanent superficial increase. Below this 
limit the destructive begin to prevail over the productive agencies. 
The distance to which the glacier descends below it depends on 
local circumstances ; but we find that nearly ail glaciers, large 
enough to be considered of the first order, descend to levels lower 
than the snow-line by an amount varying from about 4000 to 
5000 feet. In smaller glaciers the descent is proportionally less. 
Again, the snow- line bears certain relations to the line which I 
have defined as the line of 32° F., or that along which the mean 
annual temperature is equal to 32° F. At certain places in suffi- 
ciently high latitudes this line will lie at the level of the sea. In 
lower latitudes it will lie at higher levels, and in still higher 
latitudes the mean annual temperature will be less than 32°. It 
is found that at the equator the snow-line lies about 1000 feet 
below the line of 32°, while in the higher north latitudes it lies 
above' the latter line, the vertical distance between them being 
very variable. A continental climate, in which the atmosphere 
contains comparatively little moisture, and the variation from 
summer to winter temperature is very great, is favourable to a 
relatively high position of the snow-line ; while an insular climate, 
in which the quantity of moisture is comparatively large, and the 
annual variation of temperature comparatively small, superinduces 
a relatively low position of this line. Thus in the north-eastern 
part of Asia the snow-line is probably from 4000 to 6000 feet 
above the line of 32°, while in Iceland its height above the latter 
line does not exceed a few hundred feet. A knowledge of these 
facts enables us to estimate approximately the vertical distance 
between these lines in any proposed hypothetical case. To esti- 
mate the absolute height of the snow-line above the sea-level, we 
have only then to calculate the height of the line of 32° at the 
place proposed. For this purpose we must estimate the mean 
annual temperature there by means of the isothermal line passing 
through the place, and then calculate the vertical height to which 
we must ascend to reach the point at which the mean annual 
temperature is equal to 32° ; and to effect this we must know the 
height which corresponds to a decrease of temperature of 1°. 
Humboldt and others have shewn that this height may be taken 
as varying from about 320 to 350 feet in ascending steep moun- 
tains, or vertically in a balloon ; but Humboldt has also shewn, 
from his own observations, that, in an ascent presenting a suc- 
cession of high and extensive table-lands, the increase of height 
for each degree* may amount to 450 or 500 feet. This is an im- 
portant distinction. 

In this manner, then, the height of the snow-line above the 
sea level can be estimated at any proposed place, with any hypo- 
thetical distribution of land and sea. If a mountain rise a few 
hundred feet at least above the snow-line, and the configuration 

24 On the Causes of Change in the 

of its summit to be favourable, glaciers will be formed upon it, of 
which the magnitude will depend on circumstances. If large, we 
might expect them to descend 4000 or 5000 feet below the snow- 
line, and to a distance proportionally less when the glaciers should 
be small. 

As an example, we may take Snowdon, in the case in which the 
Gulf Stream is supposed to be absent from the shores of western 
Europe, and a large portion of that continent submerged beneath the 
ocean. I have shewn that the temperature of Snowdon would pro- 
bably not exceed 39° or 40° F. Assume it 39°. Taking a decrease 
of temperature of 1° in ascending 320 feet, the height of the line 
of 32° would be 2240 feet. The climate w r ould be entirely an in- 
sular one, and therefore the height of the snow-line would probably 
not exceed that of the line of 32° by more than 200 or 300 feet. If 
we suppose this additional height to be 260 feet, the absolute height 
of the snow-line would be 2500 feet, or 1000 feet less than that of 
the present summit of the mountain. If we assume the mountain 
to subside 400 or 500 feet with the surrounding region, it would 
still rise 500 or 600 feet above the snow -line, a height sufficient to 
admit of the formation of glaciers, which might descend to the level 
of the sea. If, in addition to the hypothesis of the absence of the 
Gulf Stream, we adopt also that of a cold current from the north, the 
mean annual temperature might be reduced 3° or 4° F. lower than 
above supposed, which would reduce the height of the snow-line to 
1200 or 1 500 feet. This would admit of the formation of glaciers, 
not only on Snowdon, but also on the lower mountains of Ireland. 
And I may here remark, that if we can thus account satisfactorily for 
climatal conditions consistent with the existence of glaciers in the 
south-west of Ireland, the subject presents no difficulty with refer- 
ence to any other part of western Europe, in which we observe the 
traces of glacial action. 

For the application of the same method of investigation to the 
other hypothetical cases of the distribution of land and sea, I must 
refer to the memoir of which I am speaking. I have selected the 
above case, not only because it seemed best calculated to elucidate the 
subject, but also because I consider it that which has far the highest 
claim to our acceptance as the real one of the glacial epoch. It 
involves, as we have seen, the absence of the Gulf Stream as an 
essential condition, the explanation which it affords of the existence 
of ancient glaciers being rendered more complete by the supposition 
of a cold current from the north. On these points it remains for me 
to say a few words. 

I need scarcely remind you that the evidence of the submergence 
of a very large portion of the North American continent during the 
Drift period is similar to that for the submergence of Europe. A 
subsidence of less than 2000 feet would render the ocean continuous 
from the Apalachian chain, on the east, to the Rocky Mountains on 

Earth' ] s Superficial Temperature. 25 

the west ; and there seems reason to believe that the subsidence may 
possibly have attained to a considerably greater amount. Now it is 
manifest that the Gulf Stream is reflected in a north-easterly direc- 
tion across the Atlantic, by the continent of North America, which 
arrests the north-westerly course by which the current reaches the 
Gulf of Mexico. But when that continent was submerged, as above 
supposed, the current would necessarily continue its north-westerly 
course, and probably along the foot of the Rocky Mountains directly 
into the Arctic Sea. This is the manner in which I conceive the 
Gulf Stream to have been diverted from the shores of western 
Europe. This diversion of the current is not to be regarded as a 
mere hypothesis adopted to account for any particular fact, but as 
a necessary consequence of that submergence of the North American 

Again, if this enormous current discharged itself into the Arctic 
Sea, it would seem extremely improbable that it should not give 
rise to some great determinate counter- current out of that sea. Now 
it appears highly probable that a considerable tract of land must 
have existed at the period of which we are speaking in the present 
region of north-eastern America and Greenland. If this were the 
case, the only practicable outlet for a great current from the Arctic 
Sea would be across the submerged portion of northern Europe, or 
along the present North Sea, between Greenland and Norway ; for 
the passage through Behring's Straits, even with a considerable 
subsidence of the land on either side, would be neither sufficiently 
wide nor deep to form a considerable outlet. Under such circum- 
stances, it would scarcely seem more necessary that the Gulf Stream 
should hold its original north-westerly course over the submerged 
continent of America, than that it should complete its circuit by 
passing through the Arctic Sea, and returning to the Atlantic 
across the submerged land of Europe, as it now completes a more 
circumscribed circuit by being constrained to pass along the northern 
portion of the Atlantic itself. 

The effect of this diversion of the Gulf Stream from its present 
course, would not be less remarkable in elevating the temperature 
of the northern shores of America and Asia, than in reducing that 
of western Europe. I have shown that the mean annual tempe- 
rature of Iceland is increased 18° or 20° F., and the January tem- 
perature 34°, by the influence of this important current. Now 
the distance from the Gulf of Mexico to Behring's Straits is very 
little greater than the distance between that gulf and Iceland, and 
the passage of the stream along the flanks of the Rocky Moun- 
tains would be more direct, and probably less impeded by counter- 
currents than it is at present in its transatlantic course. There 
can be no reasonable doubt, therefore, of its raising the temperature 
of the north-western coasfof America, from the Mackenzie River 
to Behring's Straits, by an amount at least equal to that by which 

26 Change in the Ear Ms Superficial Jemperature. 

it now elevates the temperature of Iceland. Further, it is highly 
probable that the principal course of the current in the Arctic Sea 
would not be far from the coasts of northern Asia, the temperature 
of which would thus be affected in a manner similar to that of the 
coast of America eastward of Behring's Straits, although in a 
smaller degree for greater distances on the west of the Straits. The 
temperature of winter immediately east of the Ural Mountains 
would also be considerably moderated, as already stated, by the 
extension of the European sea towards their western flanks. The 
climate of the low lands of northern Asia would thus differ from 
the present climate of that region, as much as the existing climate 
of the western coast of Norway differs from that which would de- 
solate that region in the absence of the Gulf Stream. 

According to this view of the subject, the former existence in 
northern Asia of the immense numbers of large mammalia indi- 
cated by the abundance of their fossil remains no longer presents 
the slightest difficulty; and the theory receives a still further 
confirmation from an observation made by Sir John Richardson 
in his " Arctic Searching Expedition," * just published. The 
author observes — "The existence of these numerous testimonials 
of an ancient fauna is suggestive of many curious speculations, 
and geologists seem hitherto to have failed in explaining the cir- 
cumstances under which accumulations so vast could occur in 
such high latitudes. The difficulty is increased when we consider 
that these bones have not been detected to the east of the Rocky 
Mountains in high latitudes." This increased difficulty, however, 
is at once removed by the theory now proposed ; for the region in 
which these remains are not found must either have been covered 
with the waters of the ocean to the foot of the Rocky Mountains 
at the period when these mammalia occupied the region to the 
westward, or, if land existed on the north-east of the present 
American continent, it was probably too cold to be inhabited by 
them. Their disappearance from the country bounding the Arctic 
Sea, from the Rocky Mountains to the Ural, would be the conse- 
quence of the withdrawal of the Gulf Stream from the more 
eastern, and of the European ocean from the more westerly portion 
of that region. Fossil plants, also, belonging to a comparatively 
warm climate, have been found east of the Rocky Mountains, on 
the coast of the North Sea ; and extensive beds of lignite exist 
along the eastern flank of those mountains. So far as these 
phenomena may be of pleistocene origin, they may be at once 
accounted for by this theory. Its more complete verification 
must, however, be left to future observation. It will not fail, I 
hope, to attract the attention of American geologists. 

* Vol. ii., p. 210. 

Progression of Animate Beings. 27 

III. Doctrine of Progression with respect to Animate Beings. 

The discovery in a single year of so much incontrovertible evi- 
dence of the extension of reptilian remains into some of the lowest 
fossiliferous strata is very remarkable, and calculated to add 
greatly to the interest of the discussion of the theory of the pro- 
gression of organic forms during successive geological epochs, 
which has lately occupied the minds of geologists.* 

It will be recollected that the advocates of the doctrine of pro- 
gression, as well as the distinguished geologist who has been their 
principal opponent, distinctly repudiate the idea of the progression 
here spoken of involving any notion of the transmutation of 
species, a theory to which, as you well knoAV, they have been most 
strongly opposed. They merely assert their belief that there has 
been upon the whole " a gradual ascent towards a higher type of 
being," f from the earliest to the latest geological periods. They 
would also contend for a certain progression in the physical state 
of our planet, " a gradual improvement in the style and character 
of the dwelling-place of organised beings.' 'J These are the pro- 
positions which your late distinguished President combated in the 
two addresses which he delivered from this chair. 

It would be absurd to contend that either the first of these 
propositions or its negative have been yet established by demon- 
strative evidence. The advocate of progression can only reason 
on the confessedly imperfect evidence which we at present possess 
respecting the extent and variety of organic beings which existed 
at the earliest geological period to which we can refer the organic 
remains with which we are acquainted ; and so far as his opponent 
proves to us more clearly the incompleteness of this evidence, and 
thus inspires us with due caution in forming our opinions, he 
renders service to the sound progress of speculative views on the 
subject. But if he goes further than this, and asserts the truth 
of the opposite proposition, he places himself in a position at least 
as untenable as that which he combats. If land existed when 
the earth first became the abode of animate beings, it would seem 
probable that animals adapted for such a dwelling-place should 
have been then created, and possibly in much greater numbers 
than the organic remains of the earlier geological periods might 
at present seem to indicate ; nor need we be surprised at any 

* The discovery of reptilian remains, alluded to by Mr Hopkins, refers to the 
impression of a reptile in the so-called Devonian sandstone of Elgin, and of 
reptilian footprints in the Potsdam sandstone of North America. We may 
remark, in regard to these statements, that the formation at Elgin has not been 
proved to be Devonian, and that the footprints in the Potsdam sandstone Pro- 
fessor Owen now considers as crustacean, not reptilian. — Editor, 

t Prof. Sedgwick — "Discourse on the studies of Cambridge," Preface, p. cliv. 

\ Mr Hugh Miller -" Footprints of the Creator." 

28 Doctrine of Progression 

future discoveries tending to support this view. Every fresh dis- 
covery like those above-mentioned brings us a step nearer to that 
ultimate limit to which our evidence can finally hereafter attain ; 
but even if we make many more such additional steps, we must 
still be cautious how we adopt the opinion that that limit will 
indicate an absolute equality between the organisation of the 
earliest created beings and those which now exist — exclusive, I 
mean, of man, whose recent introduction on the earth is admitted 
equally by the contending parties. It is not here my purpose to 
advocate the one view or the other in mere special reference to 
organised beings, or to analyse the evidence which has been ad- 
duced with so much ability both in favour of the doctrine of pro- 
gression and in opposition to it ; but to insist on that philosophic 
caution and reserve which may leave us unshackled in our future 
speculations, and free to modify our opinions so far as future evi- 
dence may call upon us to do so. 

IV. Doctrine of Progression with respect to Inanimate Matter. 

So long as we restrict our speculations on the question of pro- 
gression to organic life, we are in no danger of adopting conclusions 
inconsistent with what we know of the operation of natural causes, 
because we are ignorant of those laws by which the succession of 
organic life has been regulated since its introduction on the earth. 
Progression in organic structure, or the entire absence of it, may, 
for aught we know, be perfectly consistent with those laws. But 
the operations of nature have revealed much more to us respecting 
the laws which have been appointed for the government of the 
inorganic world, and it becomes us to examine how far these laws 
may be consistent with the doctrine of non-progression in its ap- 
plication to the inorganic matter of our planet, or how far they 
indicate a necessary tendency, in the language above-quoted, to 
" a gradual improvement in the style and character of the dwelling- 
place of organised beings.'' 

And here I would remark, that the doctrine of non-progression, 
in the sense in which I use the term, is independent of that theory 
which would attribute all geological phenomena to causes acting 
with no greater intensity than those of which we now witness the 
operation around us. By progression, as applied to the inorganic 
matter composing our planet, I understand a change, continuous 
or discontinuous, by which that matter has passed, in the long 
process of time, from a primitive to its present condition, and 
may still pass to some ultimate and different state, a change by 
which, regarded in more especial reference to the question be- 
fore us, the surface of the earth has been rendered more fit for 
the habitation of the higher orders of organised beings. This 
permanent change of state may have been effected or accompanied 

with respect to Inanimate Matter. 29 

by either paroxysmal or gradual and uniform action of the forces 
which have modified the earth's surface. By non-progression I 
understand, not the absence of periodically recurring changes, but 
of that permanent change above mentioned. The periodical changes 
in this case, equally with the permanent changes of the former 
case, may have been produced or accompanied by either paroxys- 
mal or uniform action. The theory of non-progression is essen- 
tially different from the theory of uniformity ; and thus while we 
might allow the justice of the appeal to the Alps, made by my 
distinguished predecessor in this chair, in proof of non-progression 
as indicated by an apparent equality of intensity in the more recent 
and the more remote geological action, we might reject the appeal 
if made to prove that the forces which elevated the Alps were of 
no greater intensity than those which have been in action during 
the historic period. 

It is not then, I conceive, to the phenomena of elevation, or of 
denudation and deposition, as indicating more or less of paroxys- 
mal or tranquil action, that we must look for any demonstrative 
evidence to decide the question before us. But there is one most 
important agent which has doubtless been most active, not only in 
producing the phenomena of elevation, but also in modifying the 
characters of the inorganic matter composing the crust of the globe, 
and it is extremely difficult to conceive how the activity of that 
agent can have consisted with non-progression. The agent I speak 
of is heat. I assume the truth of the simple proposition, that if 
a mass of matter, such, for instance, as the earth with its waters 
and its atmosphere, be placed in space of which the temperature is 
lower than its own, it will necessarily lose a portion of its heat by 
radiation, until its temperature ultimately approximates to that of 
the circumambient space, unless this reduction of temperature be 
prevented by the continued generation of heat. If there be any 
propositions in experimental science which may be deemed incon- 
trovertible, this, I conceive, is one of them. Now we know that 
the interior temperature of the earth is higher than that of its 
surface ; and, in order that this state of terrestrial temperature 
may be consistent with non-progression, it must either be a per- 
manent one, or must belong to a series of changes recurring perio- 
dically, but producing no permanent change or progression from 
a higher primitive to a lower ultimate temperature. If the present 
temperature be permanent, it must be maintained by some cause 
constantly acting within the earth, and generating a quantity of 
heat exactly equal to that which is lost by radiation into surround- 
ing space. No external cause, such as solar or stellar radiation, 
could produce an absolutely constant, stationary temperature, 
which should increase in descending beneath the earth's surface. 
Chemical action might produce this effect, possibly, for a finite 
time, but philosophers, I imagine, would no more believe that or 

30 Doctrine of Progression 

any other internal cause capable of producing such an effect for 
an infinite time, than they would believe in perpetual motion, in 
the ordinary sense of the expression. I cannot conceive, there- 
fore, the present state of terrestrial temperature to be a permanent 
state. Can it belong to a perpetually recurring series of changes \ 
I would reply, that no internal cause could account for any such 
infinite recurrence, more than for unlimited permanence of tem- 
perature. Such infinite recurrence could only be attributed to the 
external causes — solar and stellar radiation. If to the former, the 
quantity of heat radiating from the sun must be subject to enormous 
periodical changes, but still without permanent diminution ; if to the 
latter, it might be attributed either to similar periodical changes 
in the radiation of the stars, or more probably to a change in the 
position of the solar system with reference to them, as I have ex- 
plained in my paper on Terrestrial Temperature. But we shall 
probably all agree in regarding such hypotheses as extremely un- 
satisfactory, and utterly unfit to be made the foundation on which 
a great speculative theory may rest. But however unsatisfactory 
they may be, I repeat that we have no other alternative but that 
of adopting one of them, consistent with the most fundamental 
properties of heat, if we maintain the theory of non-progression in 
the strict sense in which I have used the term. And, having 
placed the theory in this point of view, I might leave it there with- 
out venturing into those speculations which assume the properties 
of the matter constituting the stellar universe to be the same as 
those which characterise the matter of our planet. Views founded 
on such assumptions ought to be advanced with diffidence, and 
held with cautious reserve ; but if, with such reservation, we as- 
sume the sun and the stars to have the same properties as our own 
planet, with respect to the generation and emission of heat, we 
must conclude that those bodies must be subject to permanent 
changes of temperature, as well as the earth itself, from the effect 
of radiation. In such case even solar and stellar radiation must 
necessarily fail to preserve the earth from that permanent change of 
temperature which would constitute essentially a state of progres- 
sion. In fact, adopting the assumption just stated respecting the 
nature of the sun and stars, and reasoning from all we know of the 
properties of matter and of heat, I am unable in any manner to 
recognise the seal and impress of eternity stamped on the physical 
universe, regarded as subjected to those laws alone by which we 
conceive it at present to be governed. 

The rejection of the doctrine of progression, both with respect 
to animate beings and inanimate matter, would seem to lead almost 
necessarily to the opinion, that the sequence of periodical changes, 
similar to those which have happened within the period of which 
we can trace the geological history, has been of infinite duration. 
It would appear to involve the rejection of the notion of a begirt" 

with respect to Inanimate Matter. 31 

ning of the actual physical condition of our planet. If not, the 
earth must have been created at once, at some finite distance of 
time, as fit a dwelling-place for organic beings, as it has been 
rendered, according to the theory of progression, only by a long 
series of superficial operations. In other words, phenomena must 
have existed as the immediate act of creation, and anterior to the 
operation of physical causes, which it is the very essence of geology 
to account for by reference to those causes. This would be to sap 
the foundations on which alone geology can rest as a physical 

I would again, gentlemen, carefully remind you that I have been 
discussing these theories with reference to my own definitions of 
the terms which designate them, and which others may not have 
accepted in the same rigorous sense. Still I believe that, if they 
are to bear a determinate meaning, they must ultimately be re- 
ceived in the sense which I have assigned to them. In that sense, 
leaving the question entirely open respecting the organic creation 
to be decided by future research, I feel it impossible to adopt any 
other view than that of progressive development of inorganic matter 
from some primitive to its present state. I have already remarked 
that we do not know sufficient of the laws which may regulate the 
succession of organic life on our planet, to assert that the one of 
these theories or the other is most consistent with these laws ; but, 
with respect to inorganic matter, the theories of uniformity and of 
non-progression appear to me incompatible with our most certain 
knowledge of the properties of heat — that ever-active agent in the 
work of terrestrial transformation. 

It is far from my purpose to enter into a discussion of the evi- 
dence which might be deduced from recognised geological pheno- 
mena in favour of the theory of progression, but merely to insist 
on that which depends on the most immediate and simple inferences 
from the properties of heat. And here it should be remarked, 
that this argument cannot be refuted by any reasoning which may 
appear to establish an approximate general uniformity or non-pro- 
gression in the character of geological phenomena since the earliest 
geological epochs, because the progressive refrigeration of the earth 
from some high temperature to its present temperature is perfectly 
consistent with such approximate uniformity or non-progression 
for enormous periods of time. Climatal conditions, for instance, 
may, consistently with the earth's continual refrigeration, have re- 
mained sensibly unaffected by the internal heat, as I have else- 
where explained, for millions of centuries ; and the very theory 
which tells us that these conditions can never be sensibly altered 
in all future time (external circumstances remaining the same) 
essentially involves the hypothesis of progressive change towards 
an ultimate limit. 

32 I 'o/ca/ioes in the Bay of Bengal. 

Volcanoes in the Bay of Bengal \ fyc. By Dr BuiST of Bombay. 

(Continued from vol. lii. p. 352.) 

The volcanic forms the terminal point of Southern Arabia, 
where the shore, after having inclined gently from Ras-el- 
Hudd, 21° north lat., at the entrance of the Persian Gulf, to 
12°, stretches almost due west, till it turns up the Red Sea. 
At no great distance of time it has obviously been an island, 
and is now connected with the mainland by a low sandy spit 
four miles long, and half a mile across, only a few feet above 
high-water mark : the whole shore, indeed, consists of sandy 
downs or swamps, only a little above the level of the sea, 
and wearing the aspect of recent emergence. The peninsula 
itself is an irregular oval, five miles in its greater, and three 
in its lesser diameter. There are numerous little headlands 
with sandy bays between, all around it. There is at the head 
of eacli little bay, and on several points of the shore besides 
a level expanse of rolled gravel and sea-shells, evidently an 
old sea margin, brought to light by the same upheaval that 
converted the island into a peninsula, and raised the isthmus 
above the level of the sea. The rocks themselves are all 
lavas of various descriptions, more or less vesicular, and the 
volcano affords a vast diversity of igneous minerals. There 
seem to have been from time to time a number of craters in 
the mountain, one of very considerable magnitude beyond 
the coal depot betwixt Ras Moorbut and Ras Tar Shagan, 
having been blown outwards, and now remains as a valley 
ascending from the sea. The edge of the principal crater is 
near the centre of the peninsula. The crater itself occupies 
the eastern half. It is exceedingly well-defined indeed, and 
at once indicates its origin to the spectator. It is about one- 
and-a-half mile in diameter, and is nearly circular, affording 
a circuit of five miles. Of this, half-a-mile has been blown 
out right down to the level of the sea. The bottom of the 
crater, on which stands the town of Aden and the British 
cantonments, is covered with a bed of rolled gravel and sea- 
shells, proving that there has been no trace of eruption since 
the last general upheaval, which produced the sea-beach all 
along these shores, but which is still believed to have been 

Volcanoes in the Bay of Bengal. 33 

within the human, perhaps even the historic, period.* The 
Shum Shum range, which forms about half the wall of the 
crater, reaches an altitude of about 1760 feet. There is a 
huge crack or slip which cuts above a third off the eastern 
side of the volcano, and through a portion of this, constitut- 
ing a narrow gorge or pass ten feet wide, and twenty or thirty 
high, the road from Steamer Point enters the crater and 
leads to the cantonments. Dr J. P. Malcolmson supposes 
this to have been the remains of the latest great eruption, of 
which the effects are chiefly manifest on the table-land on the 
eastern buttress of Shum Shum. By this the ancient crater 
was shattered nearly through its centre from the northern 
to the southern pass, breaking into pieces, and separating 
the whole of the eastern side, of the edge of which Sheera 
Island is a fragment ; and in these views I concur. (Lond. 
As. Trans., 1846). On the one side of this which remains, 
the wall of the crater subsides from 1700 to 600 feet, and 
then breaks away altogether. The reft probably occurred 
when the side of the crater was blown out and demolished. 
The walls of the crater, as now existing, w 7 hen seen from the 
cantonments, present the most magnificent view that can be 
imagined ; one semicircular precipice, five miles in circuit, 
ascends some 1776 feet from the plain. It is, in most cases, 
perpendicular. The cliff is of a rusty dark-brown colour, and 
full of caverns and recesses, like the altar-screen of a Gothic 
cathedral. Great streams of lava may be observed from 
point to point, as if the fiery cataract had been arrested in 
its progress and congealed as it flowed from the lesser rents 
of the principal crater. On many parts of the rock, 500 feet 
above the level of the sea, — to the level of Shum Shum so far 
as I know, but the altitude just named is all to which I have 
examined it, — great masses of volcanic ashes are strewed 
amongst the crevices of the rocks, these generally abounding, 
as does the surface all around, with sea-shells in a state of 
great decay, to all appearance borne up by the volcano on 
its last emergence from the sea. 

* See Report of the Society of Civil Engineers, May 20, 1851. Also Miss 
Fanny Corbeaux's Letters; Athenaeum, June 28, 1851. 

VOL. LIII. NO. CV. — JULY 1852. C 

34 I oicanoes in the Buy of Bengal '. 

The minerals found at Aden are very numerous. We have 
almost every variety of lava, compact, earthy, vesicular, 
amygdaloidal, and porphyritic ; obsidian in all its forms, 
from dull coarse green and blush green to beautiful jet 
black. Pumice is found, but it is not plentiful. It is mostly 
of a dark reddish-brown colour, and is heavier and more 
coarse in its texture than the mineral of commerce, and less 
suited for the finer purposes of the polisher. Sulphur is 
sometimes found, but rarely. Rock crystals in veins next, 
and crusts are very plentiful everywhere. On many parts of 
the volcano chalcedony in various forms abounds ; in some 
cases it appears in thin crusts, in button-shaped encrusta- 
tions, or in drops or studs, occasionally covered over with 
delicate rock crystals. They are of a beautiful bluish-white, 
and take a prominent place in any cabinet. On these are 
occasionally found small crystals of purple fluor-spar, from 
the size of a mustard seed to that of a small pea. Carbonate 
of lime appears as calcareous spar, frequently filling veins and 
cavities of a slightly-crystallized veined variety of marble, 
of various tints of brown, exactly like the Gozo marble seen 
at Malta, and the portions of the rock of Gibraltar from 
which ornaments are mostly cut. Sulphate of lime is found 
in veins in the form of beautiful fibrous gypsum, semi-trans- 
parent, and colourless. It also occurs in plates. Specimens 
of all the minerals here described I have in abundance in 
my own cabinet. They have been mostly collected for me 
by Dr Malcolmson, Mr Moyes, and Mr Adie ; the duration 
of my own visits to Aden precluding me from procuring the 
rare minerals. 

Right across the bay to the westward, at a distance of 
five miles, are the magnificent remains of another crater, 
called Gibbel Hasson. It is nearly of the same size and form 
as Aden, but rests on the mainland. The centre peak at- 
tains an altitude of 1237 feet, and on sailing round it from 
Aden, it, in certain aspects, presents the appearance of a 
stupendous Gothic cathedral. Two peaks of 700 feet, close 
beside each other, have obtained the very unpicturesque 
name of " The Asses' Ears," from the appearance presented 
by them far out at sea ; while 7 miles beyond this, and 17 

Volcanoes in the Bay of Bengal. 35 

from Aden, another fragment of a cone of smaller size, but 
considerable beauty, rises up to the altitude of 700 feet, and 
projects about 3 miles into the sea ; while half-way betwixt 
this and the strait, Gibbel Kurruz, or St Anthony, apparently 
a volcano, reaches an elevation of 2772 feet ; Barren Peak 
and the high range of Gibbel Arrar, or the Chimney Peaks, 
just opposite the strait, being all set down by the surveyors 
as hills of volcanic origin.* The range bends northward, 
and follows the line of the Red Sea shore. 

From Aden to Bab-el-mandeb, indeed, the rocks along the 
Arabian shore seem to be wholly volcanic for a distance of 
above 100 miles. On the African shore a singular cove at 
the upper end of the Bay of Tadjoura, called Joobul Khareb, 
seems the crater of an old volcano. It is connected with 
the bay by two narrow channels, the whole width across, from 
coast to coast, being about three quarters of a mile, with a 
small island near the middle. One of the channels is 40 yards 
wide, with 16 fathoms water ; the other 350, with 3 fathoms. 
The cove inside is about 13 miles in diameter, by six. The 
western portion is volcanic. At its extremity is a basin, or 
crater, 300 yards in diameter, surrounded by precipitous 
volcanic cliffs ; though the sea makes its way to the water 
inside, the entrance is dry at low water. Lava and scoriae 
abound everywhere around. \ The waters of the cove are 
said occasionally to be violently agitated and disturbed with- 
out apparent cause, probably by the emission of gas from 
below,| the volcano being scarcely yet asleep. Off the outer 
bay the hills are of limestone, and rise to the height of 2000 

The rocks around the salt lake Assal, whose waters are 
now nearly dried up and encrusted with salt, and are 590 

* The whole of this information is taken from the Charts and Survey Notices 
of 1836-40. Aden is the only volcano here I have myself examined, the others 
I have merely seen from sea. They have all the appearance of heing correctly 
described, and, considering the ability of the surveyors, I have no doubt that 
they are so. 

t Captain Burke's paper. London Roy. Geog. Trans., 1848. 

\ Harris' Highlands of Ethiopia, vol. i., p. 17. 

C 2 

36 Volcanoes in the Bay of Bengal. 

feet beneath those of the sea, are all volcanic on the eastern 
side. A bed of lava, containing several deep fissures, separate 
the waters of the lake from those at Gubat-el-Kherab, of 
which it appears to have been a continuation.* The lake is 
11° 38' 12" N., and 42° 30' 6" E. It is about 7 miles across 
in its larger diameter, and 570 feet below the level of the 
sea. For about 300 miles westward into the interior the 
whole country seems volcanic. To the south-westward of 
this, near Shoa, is the volcano of Gibbel Abida, about 4000 
feet high, its crater opening to the NW., and about 2\ miles 
in diameter, and further on the still higher peak of Aiullo. 
Here there is an even plain about 30 miles in diameter, 
studded with small cones, of which as many as twenty may 
be counted at once, each exhibiting a distinct and well-formed 
crater. The lava everywhere around is fresh and glossy, but 
no tradition exists of any eruption having occurred within 
the memory of man. 

Returning to the Straits of Bab-el-mandeb, we find the 
volcanic peaks of the High Brothers. On the far-extended 
African shore, the island of Perim, which occupies a portion 
of the straits near the Arabian side, with the Bab-el-mandeb 
Peak on the mainland close by, are masses of lava. Along 
the African shore, from lat. 11° to lat. 14°, and from long. 
42° to long. 44°, the series of volcanoes is uninterrupted for 
the space of 400 miles, running into the interior about 10° 
N. towards Ankobar, long. 40° E.t How far the volcanic 
district extends into the interior along the African shore, 
within the Straits of Bab-el-mandeb, does not appear. A 
range of hills above 14 miles from the sea, to which it is nearly 
parallel, is set down on the chart as mostly volcanic. There 
is a second chain of very high mountains parallel to this 
again, about 50 miles further to the west, but its character 
does not appear to have been ascertained. On the Arabian 
shore, from lat. 13° to lat. 15° 40', for a distance of nearly 

* Dr Kirk's Journey from Tadjoura to Ankobar, 1841. Royal Geographical 
Trans, 1841, vol. x. The paragraph is given verbatim. Ibid., and more ex- 
tended, Bombay Geographical Transactions, vol. iii., 1841-44. 

t Dr Kirk, ut sup. 

Volcanoes in the Bay of Bengal. 3 / 

200 miles, a range of hills of volcanic origin is set down on 
the map about 20 miles from the shore,, with a second range 
behind them, undescribed, like that on the African side. The 
lower range is a continuation of the Aden volcanoes, thus 
extending in a continuous line for above 300 miles along- 
shore. There can be no reasonable doubt that the whole 
basin of the Red Sea,— here about 100 miles across from the 
Arabian to the African chain of peaks, — is volcanic, studded, 
as the intermediate channel is, with cones, now in a state of 
activity ; so that the ascertained area of this region, from 
Aden to near Ankobar, from this to Gibbel Teir, is 350 from 
E. to W., and 450 from S. to N. Within the channel of the 
Red Sea, the most conspicuous peaks are the Haruish Islands, 
and Gibbel Toogur, betwixt lat. 13° 40' and 14° ; the Zey- 
beyar Islands in lat. 15° ; and Gibbel Teir in lat. 15° 30'. A 
violent eruption of short continuance occurred in the Zeybeyar 
Islands on the 6th of August 1846. Gibbel Teir has for 
nearly a century been known to be in a state of constant ac- 
tivity. It was visited by Bruce in 1774 ; it then gave out 
smoke, and was said occasionally to emit flame and stones ; 
the masses of lava he describes as having shells imbedded 
in them, a circumstance that has not, so far as I have observed, 
been noticed by any other traveller.* It was visited by 
Captain Elman, when engaged in survey in 1838, t and by Dr 
Kirk in 1841. The island is circular, about 1\ miles round, 
resembling, on being approached, a hill of considerable eleva- 
tion, rising from a plain, terminating in a bluff steep on the 
eastern extremity. The summit of the hill is about 300 feet 
above the sea -level, — there are no soundings close in- shore, 
at 150 fathoms, so that the visible portion is merely the 
summit of a hill, at present 1100 feet high, or 1900, if the 
altitude of 900 assigned it by the chart be correct, the base 
of which is hid by the waters. J The whole surface is covered 
with ashes, lava, and cinders ; near the summit, there are 
about fifteen small open craters, from several of which steam 
and hot air are continually issuing, and occasionally smoke. 

* See Travels, quoted in Geog. Society's Report for 1850. 
f I have taken Dr Kirk's description, shortly abridged. 
\ Dr Kirk makes it 300, Bruce 500 ; in the Survey Chart it is set down at 900. 

38 Volcanoes in the Bay of Bengal. 

Streams of indurated lava are seen to proceed from these 
chiefly towards the east side of the island. It is said to have 
been on fire about 1828 or 1830. One of the peaks in which 
it terminates, exhibits the remains of two craters of about 
25 feet in diameter, — both have fallen in. A single crater 
of much more recent formation than the others, appears in 
the northern peak of Gibbel Teir, seems the northernmost of 
the volcanoes in the Red Sea, and probably limits the band. 
We have no information whatever, so far as I know, 
as to any volcanoes in the interior of Arabia, or to the 
northward. In his description of the sulphur mines of 
Cummer (Khamir) opposite Kishmi, in the Persian Gulf, 
Lieutenant Jenkins* does not state whether the country is 
volcanic or gypseous, or both ; and Lieutenant Fullarton, 
who presented specimens of crystallized sulphur")" to the 
Bombay Asiatic Society in 1851, leaves us equally in the 
dark. We know that gypsum abounds in it. An extinct vol- 
cano, called Mount Nimrod, is described by M. Chaucourtois, J 
as existing near the Salt Lake Vau, in Armenistan, on the 
frontiers of Persia, between the 38th and 39th degrees of 
latitude. On the banks of the Euphrates, near the city of 
Hit, in the region of the Petroleum wells, Dr Winchester 
found scoriae on the summit of a detached hill, about 80 feet 
above the level of the plain ; but no other volcanic appearance 
was observed. § 

Geology, as illustrated by Chemistry and Physics. By Profes- 
sor Gustav Bischof of Bonn.|| This Communcated by 
the Author. 

Our earth moves in a space which must be at least as 
cold as the polar zones during the winter season. If at the 

* Notice of the Sulphur Mines of Cummer, hy Lieutenant Jenkins, Bombay 
Geographical Transactions, vol. i., 1836. 

t Report of the B. B. R. As. Society, September 1851. 

X Report of the Academy of Sciences, 17th November 1845. Ibid., Edin- 
burgh New Philosophical Journal, April 1846, p. 377. 

§ Bombay Geographical Trans., vol. ii., p. 30. 

|| Translated, under the superintendence of Professor Bischof, from the 
Allgemeine Monatschrifl fur Wissenschaft & Literatur, Feb. 1852, by Dr Raul. 

(Jeoloyy, as Illustrated by Chemistry and Physics. 30 

creation it had the same low temperature as cosmical space, 
then it would have been gradually heated from the exterior 
inwards, by the influence of the sun, and would now present 
either an equal temperature throughout, or a decrease from 
the surface towards the centre. But precisely the contrary 
is observed ; for at every part of the earth where, either in 
mining operations or by boring, any considerable depth has 
been reached, an increase of temperature presents itself. 
This is a fact which, since the time when Trebra, Saussure, 
and d'Aubuisson first directed attention to it, has been fully 
established by numerous observations. The earth, then, 
had, at the time of its formation, a higher temperature than 
cosmical space, and gradually lost a part of its heat to a 
certain depth below the surface. But in its interior it still 
preserves its original temperature, either not at all or in a 
very slight degree lessened ; for in a body of such a magni- 
tude as the earth, and consisting as it does of bad conductors 
of heat, the process of cooling is one of extreme slowness. 

Some years since I took great pains to shew,* that warm 
springs occur in very great numbers in all rock formations, 
in all latitudes, at all heights above the level of the sea, as 
well as beneath it, if we consider as warm springs all such 
whose water is but one degree, or even less than that, above 
the mean local temperature. It is necessary that the signi- 
ficance of the term " warm springs" should be thus extended, 
for the mean temperature of cold springs is a function of 
the mean temperature of the air at the place of their occur- 
rence. Every excess of heat, however minute, cannot there- 
fore originate from this temperature, but must be owing to 
some other cause. A phenomenon so general as the occur- 
rence of thermal springs can only be the consequence of a 
general cause. Since, now, the springs are warmer in pro- 
portion as they rise from a greater depth, since the water 
which fills and generally overflows the borings is warmer, 
the deeper the boring is extended, it is clear that the cause 
of this temperature exceeding the local temperature can 

* See Physical, Chemical, and Geological Researches on the Internal Heat 
of the Glohe. London, 1841. 

40 Geology, as illustrated by Chemistry and Fhysics. 

only be sought in the increasing heat of the earth towards 
the centre. The temperature of springs ranges from a few 
degrees above 32° Fahr. to the boiling point ; consequently at 
a certain distance below the surface there must be a tempe- 
rature of 212° Fahr. 

So long as the few springs, which have a very high tem- 
perature, such as those of Carlsbad, Aix-la-Chapelle, Wies- 
baden, &c, alone attracted the attention of physicists, it was 
not difficult to consider them as consequences of local con- 
ditions, as for example the burning beds of coal or iron 
pyrites. But since it has been shewn that an excess of 
temperature of only one degree demands explanation fully 
as much as the boiling temperature of the Iceland springs, 
it has become evident that it is only in rare cases that the 
phenomenon of hot springs depends upon local causes. 

Volcanoes are phenomena which indicate the existence of 
a temperature in the interior of the earth very much higher 
than that of the hottest springs. 

Davy's important discovery of the metals of the alkalies 
and alkaline earths led him to put forward a not very pro- 
bable explanation of the high temperature which is possessed 
by the lava streams and ignited stones thrown out during 
an eruption. As these metals, even at ordinary tempera- 
tures, decompose water with considerable evolution of heat, 
it was possible, assuming the existence of these substances 
in the metallic state at certain depths, and the penetration 
of water, to conceive volcanic phenomena to be consequences 
of this decomposition and the heat thus developed. But ad- 
mitting such to be the case, the hydrogen liberated would 
naturally issue from the craters in a strongly-heated state, 
and, coming in contact with atmospheric oxygen, burn there, 
giving rise to lofty flames, which would form a part of all 
volcanic phenomena. 

While several observers will not admit the existence of 
such flames, still others have sometimes recognised them. 
However, if the oxygen of the alkalies and alkaline earths 
which constitute such a considerable part of lavas were de- 
rived from the decomposition of water, the evolution of hy- 
drogen should be a very common phenomenon, and the quan- 

Geology, as illustrated by Chemistry and Physics. 41 

tity enormous. Moreover, the flames which have actually 
been observed appear to have been those of burning sulphu- 
retted hydrogen, whose formation presupposes the existence 
not of metal, but of metallic sulphurets.* 

Besides this, the assumption of the presence of these 
metals in the interior of the earth has very little probability. 
They could not in any case be situated in the limestone 
strata, which for example the crater of Vesuvius has broken 
through, nor indeed in any strata which have been formed 
by deposition from the sea, but must be supposed to exist in 
the primitive rocks which lie beneath all the sedimentary 
strata. It is not my intention here to speak of other diffi- 
culties which this hypothesis encounters. \ The celebrated 
originator of it himself subsequently expressed a decided 
opinion that the increase of temperature towards the interior 
of the earth furnished a much more simple explanation of 
volcanic phenomena. 

Wherever chemical processes attended by a development 
of heat takes place, the products of the action are found. 
Thus, in combustion smoke and ashes present themselves. 
If lava had been melted by such a process, then long before 
its flowing from the crater smoke must have issued as from 
our furnace chimneys. Where coal strata burn as at Duttwei- 
ler, near Saarbrucken, either melting masses of rock or heat- 
ing them to redness, smoke ascends from fissures or through 
the planes of stratification. Nothing of this kind is seen to 
issue from the craters of volcanoes before the lava is poured 
out, for the vapours which ascend from them are of a totally 
different nature. It cannot, therefore, be subterranean pro- 
cesses of combustion which cause the melting of lava. Now, 
since the only other conceivable chemical process — a com- 
bustion of the metals of the alkalies and alkaline earths — is 
in the highest degree improbable, then, according to the 
present state of chemical science, there remains no other 
such process by which volcanic phenomena can be produced. 

* Naumann Lehrbuch, d. Geognosie, Bd. i., p. 123. 

t See Physical, Chemical, and Geological Researches on the Internal Heat 
of the Globe. London, 1841, p. 297, et seq. 

42 Geology, as illustrated by Chemistry and Physics. 

We are then compelled to return to the assumption of the 
pre-existence of melted matter in the interior of the earth, 
for it is this assumption alone which is supported by fact — 
the increase of temperature towards the earth's centre — all 
other hypotheses are destitute of such a basis. 

The celebrated undertaking of the French Government in 
sending out the expeditions of Bouguer, Condamine Jussieu, 
&c., to Peru (1735) of Maupertius, Clairaut, Camus, Lem- 
monier, &c, to the polar regions of Lapland (1736), for the 
purpose of measuring degrees of latitude, and the subsequent 
measurements of degrees of longitude and pendulum obser- 
vations, have demonstrated the flattening of the earth at the 
poles. By this means, the earlier views of Newton and Huy- 
gens, based upon the law of universal gravitation, and the 
centrifugal force of the rotating earth, as well as upon the 
assumption of a previous fluid state of the earth, were fully 
confirmed. As a consequence of these investigations, the 
question arose as to whether this former fluid condition of 
the earth was one of igneous or aqueous liquidity, whether, 
therefore, the earth at the time of its creation, was a melted 
or pasty mass. The state of igneous liquidity presupposes 
that a greater part of the water of the ocean, rivers, &c, if 
not the entire mass of water, was diffused throughout the at- 
mosphere in the form of vapour ; for, upon a melted surface, 
it could only have retained its liquid form under a most enor- 
mous pressure. This pressure can only be ascribed to the then 
existing atmosphere, constituted chiefly of aqueous vapour, 
and the gradual condensation of this vapour as far as the quan- 
tity which still exists in the atmosphere to the gradual cooling 
of the earth's crust ; if, on the contrary, the earth was a pasty 
mass, then the water which had penetrated the solid mate- 
rials must have gradually ascended from the interior to the 
surface ; for in rocks, and especially crystalline rocks, water 
is either not found at all, or only in extremely small quanti- 
ties, and as far as observation extends, this water has always 
been derived from the surface. If, therefore, the different 
rocks had originated from a pasty mass, the water must have 
separated by evaporation, somewhat in the same manner as 
it now separates from moist clay. The increase of tempera- 

Geology, as illustrated by Chemistry and Physics. 43 

ture towards the centre of the earth, would facilitate the ex- 
planation of drying of the earth's crust by this means. 

Although we cannot altogether contradict the assumption 
that the earth was in a pasty condition at the time of its for- 
mation, still, the existing state of its interior, so far as we are 
acquainted with it, but little favours such a view. It is diffi- 
cult to imagine the drying of the earth from the centre to the 
surface. On the other hand, the opinion that the interior of 
the earth is still in a pasty state, is opposed by the fact of 
the high temperatures indicated by hot springs and volcanic 
phenomena, as well as by the great density of the earth (544 
or even 5 67), which leads us to infer that its interior must 
consist of much denser substances than its exterior crust; for 
any considerable quantity of water in the interior would 
lessen the density. 

If, therefore, the flattening of the earth at the poles is as- 
sumed to be a consequence of its former liquid condition, then 
it is especially the condition of igneous liquidity which is the 
most in conformity with what we know of its interior. 

But is it possible to entertain any rational doubt of the 
former liquidity of our earth and the other planets ? If, by a 
calculation based upon an hypothesis, results are obtained 
which approximate closely with those obtained empirically, 
then this hypothesis acquires greater probability in proportion 
as these results correspond more accurately. Setting out 
from the assumption that the earth was formerly liquid, 
Newton obtained for the ellipticity of the earth a value which 
was somewhat greater than that which the subsequent mea- 
surement of degrees afforded. Huygens obtained a much 
smaller number. But these deviations cannot appear strange, 
since the theory presupposed many conditions which in reality 
could not have existed. The calculation acquired greater 
certainty through the theoretical investigations of Maclaurin, 
Clairaut, Legendre, and Laplace. The latter found the 
ellipticity 3^5. Finally, Ivory subjected the problem to a 
thorough investigation, as much as possible free from limit- 
ing assumptions, and estimated the flattening of the originally 
liquid terrestrial spheroid at ¥ 1 9 , a result which corresponds 
as exactly with that obtained by Bessel from the ten most 

44 Geology, as illustrated by Chemistry and Physics. 

trustworthy measurements of degrees, ¥ £ ff , as can possibly 
be expected from the difficulty of the calculation. The hypo- 
thesis of the former liquid state of the earth acquired by this 
means the highest degree of probability. 

Liquid substances, in consequence of the extreme mobility 
of their particles, obey with the greatest readiness the action 
of forces which tend to alter their external configuration. 
Among these forces, gravity is that which, in comparison 
with all others, is so preponderating as almost entirely to 
obscure their action. It is only by observing very small liquid 
masses, in which the relative action of gravity is much en- 
feebled, that the influence of other forces upon the configura- 
tion of these masses can be recognised. Thus small drops 
of water and melted metals aggregate into spheres upon solid 
surfaces when the mutual attraction of their particles is 
greater than that between them and the surfaces upon which 
they rest. If it be desired to study larger masses of liquid 
bodies in their proper freely-assumed figure, we must con- 
sider the earth and the other planets in the forms which 
they have acquired through the united action of attractive 
and centrifugal forces while in their original liquid state. 
Theory points out that these masses must have assumed the 
forms of more or less oblate spheroids, and observation 
teaches us that such is really the case. 

Plateau, professor of natural history in Ghent,* conceived 
the ingenious idea of placing large masses of fluids in cir- 
cumstances which would neutralise the action of gravity 
without their ceasing to be subject to the other forces which 
tend to alter their exterior form. He effected this in a very 
simple manner, by introducing a fatty oil, such as olive-oil, 
into a mixture of water and alcohol, having the same specific 
gravity as the oil. The influence of gravity on this oil was 
entirely neutralised, for, as both liquids had equal densities, 
the oil only occupied the place of an equal mass of the sur- 
rounding liquid. Since fatty oils do not mix with a mixture 
of alcohol and water, the former remained floating in the 
surrounding liquid, and had perfect freedom to assume what- 

V; Poggcndorf'fl Annalen, Erganzungs, band ii.. p. 249, ct ?cq. 

Geology, as illustrated by Chemistry and Physics. Ah 

ever exterior configuration the forces acting upon it might 
tend to produce. This was confirmed by experiment ; for the 
mass of oil, however large it might be, always assumed a 
perfect spherical figure while floating in the alcoholic liquid, 
and, as it were, imitated one of the planetary bodies suspended 
in cosmical space. By means of a simple centrifugal machine, 
Plateau succeeded in causing such a sphere of oil to rotate, 
and found that it became flattened at the poles, and spread 
out at the equator. When a considerable velocity was given 
to the sphere, it rapidly assumed the maximum of flattening, 
then it became hollow round the axis both above and below, 
and continued to extend more and more in a horizontal direc- 
tion. Finally, it changed into a perfectly regular ring, and 
resembled that of Saturn. By modifying the experiment, he 
even succeeded in making a sphere of oil remain in the in- 
terior of the ring. Still Plateau recognised nothing more in 
this experiment than a scientific curiosity ; for the circum- 
stances which determined the result had evidently no simi- 
larity with those which have contributed to the formation 
of Saturn's rings. 

Thus both theory and experiment lead to the inference 
that the earth and other planets have been formed from 
liquid masses. If there were a common solvent for all the 
substances existing upon the earth, it might be conceived 
that they had existed in such a solution at the creation. But 
such an assumption would be in contradiction to chemical 
laws. And as the assumption of an aqueous pasty condition 
is likewise an hypothesis which has but little foundation, 
there remains only the condition of igneous liquidity which 
is probable. 

In favour of this, there are also analogies in the meteoric 
stones. If these, as Chladni conjectures, are older forma- 
tions, which have long existed in some form or other in cos- 
mical space, or if they have originated from pre-existing 
materials, only a short time previously to their falling, the 
view that they are of cosmical origin is the most probable of 
all those which have been contrived for their explanation. 
According to all observations, they reach our earth in a more 
or less heated state — sometimes even red-hot. Many pre- 

40 Geology r , «£ illustrated by Chemistry and Physics. 

sent impressions from which it may be inferred that they 
have been in a soft state. This view is also supported by 
the fact that some fire-balls appeared spherical only at first, 
and afterwards assumed a lengthened form. 

I believe that I have sufficiently proved * that the heating 
of meteorites cannot, as Chladni assumed, be caused by the 
air, compressed in consequence of the immense velocity with 
which they move in space. Their heat cannot, therefore, be 
derived from without, but must stand in some kind of casual 
connection with their formation. The high temperature 
which, from the occurrence of hot springs, volcanic pheno- 
mena, and the polar flattenings, we infer our earth to have 
possessed at the creation, and still to retain in its interior, 
we now observe in the meteorites, which are probably frag- 
ments of exploded cosmical bodies. \ A liquid state of cos- 
mical bodies, caused by high temperatures, has then analo- 
gies in the meteorites, which, moreover, correspond in their 
composition with the formations upon our earth. 

The lava which was thrown out during historical periods, 
and even before our eyes flows from volcanic craters, is very 
similar to that which, in prehistorical ages, flowed from ex- 
tinct or still active volcanoes. The lava from old streams 
of Vesuvius, iEtna, and other volcanoes, the scorise, rapilli, 
and the volcanic ashes of these still active volcanoes, are not 
to be distinguished from the products of the extinct volcanoes 
in the Eifel and the neighbourhood of the lake of Laach. 
Upon Mosenberg, near Manderscheid, upon Falkenley, near 
Bertrich, &c, the transition of scoriae into lava, and into 
actual basalt, can be traced. Nothing was therefore easier 
tli an to regard that basalt also which is found in other places, 
and far from either active or extinct volcanoes, as a lava-like 
production. The old lavas of Iceland, and the island Ischia 
near Naples, so perfectly resemble the trachytes which rise 
above the surface in steep cones, as in the Siebengebirge, 
near Bonn, that there was in this case also no reason to 
doubt a similarity of origin. 

* Populare Biiefe an sine gebildete Dame iiber die gesamten Gebiete der 
Natur\vis;senschaften. Ertes Bandchen, 1848, p. 9G, et teq. 
X Ibid, p. 102. et ■«><]., and p. 126, et seq. 

Geology ; as illustrated by Chemistry and Physics. 47 

However, notwithstanding the perfect mineralogical and 
chemical similarity, phenomena sometimes present them- 
selves in basalt, which warn us not unconditionally to infer 
from this resemblance an entirely similar formation. Berger 
and Maculloch describe basaltic dikes of a few inches, and 
even less, in thickness, occurring upon the islands of Anglesey 
and Barra, and intersecting the rock in all directions. 

Let us imagine a mass of matter in igneous fusion, which, 
after solidifying, yields a basaltic rock ascending in a fissure 
by volcanic agency, it must not be forgotten that this solidi- 
fication would take place the sooner the narrower the fissure 
was. The flowing or ascent of masses in igneous fusion 
would therefore cease the sooner, the narrower the fissure ; 
for the narrower it is the greater is the cooling action of the 
cold surfaces of the adjoining rocks. The width of a fissure, 
and the temperature of the ascending melted mass, therefore, 
determine the possibility of a penetration. If the fissure be 
too narrow, and the temperature of the mass too low, the 
penetration is no longer possible.* But there is yet another 
circumstance to be taken into consideration. The more 
rapid the solidification, the less is it possible for a melted 
mass to assume a crystalline form. If it takes place too 
rapidly, and this would be the case in proportion to the nar- 
rowness of the fissure, then only scoriaceous masses are 
formed. Therefore ; even if the penetration can be conceived 
possible, still, if the circumstances are of such a nature that 
a slow solidification cannot take place, and the mass filling 
the fissures also appears as a true basalt, then it is necessary 
to be very cautious in assuming the crystalline basalt to have 
been formed by igneous agency. It must be left to the Eng- 
lish geologists to ascertain, by an accurate revision of the 
narrow fissures and veins filled with basalt, how far the geo- 
logical relations existing there can be reconciled with the 
laws of the crystalline solidification of melted masses. 

Before attempting to include the basalt of all localities 
among the products of melted masses, endeavour should 
have been made to remove these and other difficulties. But 

Lehrb. der Chemischen u. Physik. Geologie, vol. ii., p. 740, p.t seq. 

48 (icology, as illustrated by Chemistry and Physics. 

these were lightly passed over. An unrestrained speculation, 
wandering far beyond the limits of strict scientific investiga- 
tion, went still further. What was supposed to have been 
proved basalt of one species of a large class of crystalline 
rocks was extended to all crystalline rocks. 

In the case of basalt, the analogy which it has with lava, 
and the transition of the oue into the other, still remains a 
leading fact. But this analogy is wanting in other crystalline 
rocks ; for nowhere has a transition of lava, whether it comes 
from extinct or still active volcanoes, into granite been met 

Before taking such a bold venture as to declare granite, 
syenite, and similar crystalline rocks, to be products of a 
very gradual solidification of melted masses, the question 
should have been asked, whether the order of successive 
formation of the several mineralo^ical members of these 
rocks represents their solidification.* If crystals of different 
kinds, and different fusibility, were formed from a melted 
mass, it is evident that the least fusible would be formed 
first, and the most fusible last. Therefore quartz, the least 
fusible member of granite, would have crystallised first; 
feldspar and mica, being more fusible, would have crystallised 
last. The latter two would naturally have occupied the 
space left by the quartz. But, with the exception of the 
graphic granite, in which quartz and feldspar appear as 
simultaneous formations, precisely the contrary is found to 
be the case ; the quartz occupies the space left by the crystals 
of feldspar. Consequently the more fusible feldspar solidified 
before the less fusible quartz. Fournet endeavours to re- 
move this contradiction, by the assumption of a so-called 
condition of supervision, according to which the less fusible 
quartz is supposed to remain soft at temperatures far below 
its melting point. But nothing is gained by this, more than 
the support of one hypothesis by another. The one falls 
with the other. 

But it is not for this reason alone that the hypothesis of 
the igneous origin of granite falls to the ground. Other and 
no less important evidence is opposed to it. 

* Lehrb. der Chemisohon u. Physik. Geologic, Bd. II., p. 923. 

Geology ; as illustrated by Chemistry and Physics. 49 

Quartz has never yet been found in a lava, or in any vol- 
canic product immediately after the solidification, as a sepa- 
rate and not accidentally enclosed constituent. Such a fact 
could only have been overlooked by a volcanic zeal running 
wide of all physical and chemical laws. It was not until 
long after the hypothesis of the igneous origin of granite 
had been regarded as established, that some of the more 
moderate Plutonists were found to direct attention to this 
circumstance, and to admit that it could not be brought into 
harmony with the plutonic origin of granite, without, how- 
ever, renouncing the general hypothesis. 

The Plutonists found abundant occupation in explaining 
the formation of gneiss, a rock which, like granite, consists 
of quartz, feldspar, and mica, but differs essentially from it 
in possessing an evident stratification. The constituents 
of gneiss, then, speak in favour of a pyrogenous formation ; 
according to the views of the Plutonists, its stratification 
indicates that it is a deposit from the sea. This contradic- 
tion separated the Plutonists into two different parties. The 
one consisted of those who did not question the sedimentary 
origin of gneiss but assumed a subsequent metamorphosis 
into crystalline rock to have been effected by igneous agency. 
The cause of this igneous metamorphosis they could not find 
in the Pidimentary rocks themselves, but were compelled to 
seek for them in the adjoining rocks. This led to the hypo- 
thesis of plutonic metamorphism, according to which an 
amorphous sedimentary rock is supposed to be heated by 
contact with a melted mass ascending from the interior of 
the earth, and then to acquire a crystalline texture during 
the gradual cooling. 

The other party consisted of those geologists who con- 
sidered that the stratification and parallel structure of gneiss, 
and other stratified crystalline rocks, furnished no reasons for 
regarding them as other than pyrogenous formations, since 
their phenomena are equally marked in some lavas.* These 
views are opposed to all the evidence which exists against 

* Naumann, Geognosie, p. 741. 
VOL. LI II. NO. CV\— JULY 1852. D 

50 Geology, as illustrated by Chemistry and Physics. 

the formation of rocks by igneous agency, which has been 
partially mentioned already, and will partially follow. 

The doctrine of plutonic metamorphism certainly found a 
feeble support in the transformation of glass into the so- 
called Reaumur porcelain. It was imagined that an uncrys- 
talline sedimentary rock might, by ignition and gradual 
cooling, pass into a mixture of different crystalline minerals, 
in the same way that glass packed in sand is transformed by 
a red heat and gradual cooling into a crystalline mass. 

It was also attempted to explain the metamorphism of 
rocks by the upward progression of the higher temperature 
in the interior. If, for example, a deep marine basin is 
gradually filled by sediment, the temperature of the original 
bottom would be raised. That such is really the case, is 
shewn by the increase of temperature in the sedimentary 
rocks formed in this manner. If the temperature increases 
at very great depths in the same proportions as in depths 
which can be observed, then at a depth of 1 15,000 feet in 
such a rock there would be a temperature of 1000° R. Such 
a heat may indeed exceed that by which glass is converted 
into Reaumur porcelain. At such a depth there would be 
no difficulty in conceiving a transformation of an amorphous 
sedimentary rock into a crystalline, if such a change actually 
does take place at a red heat. 

Finally, it was imagined rocks might be so metamorphosed 
by the vapour and gaseous exhalations rising from craters, 
and in their neighbourhood, that crystalline rocks might be 
formed from amorphous strata. 

There is no want of opportunities for the Plutonists to 
study the changes which rocks undergo when exposed to the 
continuous action of high temperatures. There are coal 
strata which have been burning for centuries. Argillaceous 
sandstone, clay, and slate clay, which form the roof of these 
burning strata, have, during this long period, been exposed to 
a very high temperature, and have been more or less altered. 
But they shew no other alteration than that observed in 
bricks after burning ; they appear fritted, half vitrified, and 
scoriaceous. There has never been a crystalline mineral 
met with in them, such as feldspar, which occurs in all crys- 

Geology, as illustrated by Chemistry and Physics. 51 

talline rocks which are supposed to have been formed by 
plutonic metamorphism. But if, after the lapse of centuries, 
there does not appear to be any tendency to a separation of 
feldspar, then there is but little hope that they would be 
formed even after thousands of years. * 

Another opportunity of judging the action of heat is afforded 
by the fragments of sedimentary rocks imbedded in scoria- 
ceous masses. In the Eifel, the neighbourhood of the lake of 
Laach, at the Rodderberg, near Bonn, &c, such phenomena 
occur very frequently ; for instance, fragments of slate and 
graywacke imbedded in scorise. But here also, we recognise 
nothing more than a similarity to burnt bricks. The lake 
fragments frequently appear brick red, blistered at the edges, 
sometimes like pumice-stone, and in some cases vitrified. 

The blistered character of such fragments shews that they 
had been half melted ; from the large size of some of these, 
we may infer a very gradual cooling ; Fakenberg, near Ber- 
trich, 160 feet high, containing innumerable fragments of 
slate-clay imbedded in it, may, according to an approximative 
calculation, have required twenty-two years for its cooling. 
More favourable circumstances for a plutonic metamorphosis 
— a partial conversion of clay-slate into feldspar, the elements 
of which it contains — could not be found, were such a change 
possible, and still there has not even been a microscopic 
crystal of feldspar found in these fragments."!" Every unpre- 
judiced person, who is not blinded by attachment to an hypo- 
thesis, will doubt the possibility of such a transformation, and 
must do so until such a discovery shall be made. 

For these reasons, we are not justified in assuming such 
a metamorphosis in sedimentary rocks, at depths where per- 
haps the central heat of the earth may have produced a very- 
high temperature, such as these scoriaceous masses possessed 
in their former melted state ; since, as regards the action of 
heat, it is indifferent whether they are of one or the other 
origin. The thickest sedimentary formations, clay-slate 
and graywacke, have undoubtedly a very considerable thick- 

* Lehrbuch der Chem. u. Physik. Geologie, Bd. IL, p. 354. 
t Ibid., p. 733. 


52 Geology, as illustrated by Chemistry and Physics. 

ness. It is possible that they reach the depth of 115,000 
feet, and perhaps exceed it, for these strata have not been 
penetrated at any part of the earth. But if it were possible 
that clay-slate could at this depth be converted into a crystal- 
line rock by the central heat of the earth, then a rocky mass 
must be removed to nearly such a depth, in order that the 
metamorphic rocks should be accessible. The frequent deep 
erosion of river valleys shews that considerable masses of 
dry land may be removed and carried into the sea by running 
water. If masses have been deposited at the bottom of the 
ocean to the thickness of several miles, then it is evident that 
equal quantities of debris must have been conveyed to the 
sea by this means. From this point of view, the hypothesis 
of a metamorphosis of the central heat of the earth would 
encounter less difficulties, if it were at all possible to regard 
such an hypothesis as a correct one. 

With regard to the favourite hypothesis, according to 
which aqueous vapours are supposed to be the agents which 
cause the transformation of sedimentary into crystalline rocks, 
abundant opportunities are presented in nature, as well as in 
chemical laboratories and metallurgical furnaces, for acquir- 
ing a knowledge of their action upon rocks. During a space 
of 190 years, aqueous vapour has issued from fissures in clay- 
slate above the burning coal strata near Duttwiler, in such 
quantities, that in cold moist weather, the mountain valley is 
enveloped in dense clouds. Atmospheric air mixed with aque- 
ous vapour and sulphurous acid at a temperature of 80° to 
158° R., issues from some fissures. But besides a red colour- 
ing of the slate-clay throughout its mass, making it resemble 
burnt brick, besides sublimation of crystallised sulphur and 
chloride of ammonium, no other changes are recognisable. 
At other places, where plastic clay lies very near the focus of 
the combustion, this has been converted into porcelain jasper. 
The suffioni of Tuscany cause no other alteration in the 
adjoining jasper and hornstone than destroying their red 
and dark grey colour, and making the rock friable. At Ter- 
ceira, aqueous vapours decompose the trachyte to white clay, 
silica is extracted and again deposited as hyalite.* Accord - 
* Lehrbuch tier Chem. Physikal. Geologic, Bd. IT., pp. 353 and 354. 

Geology, as illustrated by Chemistry and Physics. 53 

ing to Jeffrey's experiments, aqueous vapour decomposes 
feldspathic rocks at the melting point of cast iron, and coats 
the roof of the furnace with a porous covering of silica. Aque- 
ous vapours, therefore, act only as decomposing agents, and 
in no case produce crystalline formations. 

Gaseous exhalations from the interior of the earth, — carbo- 
nic acid the most frequent, sulphuretted hydrogen the less 
frequent, sulphurous acid and hydrochloric acid, which are 
rare and occur only during volcanic eruptions, — exercise also 
a decomposing influence. 

Although no trace of feldspar crystals has yet been found 
in the slate fragments imbedded in scoriaceous masses, still 
they occur in sedimentary formations ; for instance, at many 
places in the Swiss Alps, far distant from all crystalline 
feldspathic rocks. Thus, according to Studer,* white quartz 
rocks, which pass into gneiss, lie in Churwalden in Bundten 
upon grey slate beds, several thousand feet in thickness, whose 
organic remains distinctly prove their sedimentary forma- 
tion. Upon this quartz follows, as the uppermost covering, 
grey slate again. Here, therefore, the metamorphic gneiss 
is separated from crystalline rocks, as well as from the high 
temperature of the earth's interior, by thick strata of un- 
altered rocks. Neither those crystalline rocks, if supposed 
to have ascended eruptively, i. e., in a melted state, nor the 
central heat of the earth, could, in this and many similar 
cases, have effected the metamorphosis, even if such a change 
were possible. 

The wandering fancy of those geologists who maintained, 
and still maintain that the metamorphosis of sedimentary 
rocks was effected by their contact with crystalline rocks, 
went so far that they affirmed such an action to take place 
even at distances of 6000 feet, as if heated rocks acted like 
miasmas. t These same geologists, in many other cases, freely 
admit that the action of eruptive rocks upon the contiguous 
strata, either cannot be at all recognised, or only in a very 
slight degree. Studer, who, among other great merits, has 

* Lehrbuch der Physikal. Geographie und Geologic. Vol. ii., p. 137. 
t Lehrbuch der Chein. u. Physikal. Geologic Bd. II., p. 353. 

54 (leology, as illustrated by Chemistry and Physics. 

that which is indeed not the least of having, more than any 
other geologist directed attention to the difficulties involved 
in the explanation of geological phenomena, by the hypothesis 
of plutonic metamorphism,* has observed, that at Mettenberg, 
near Grindelwald, limestone strata of scarcely more than an 
inch in thickness, surrounded on both sides by gneiss, neither 
lose their gray colour, nor their uncrystalline sedimentary 
character, and that distinctly preserved fossil remains (Be- 
lemnites and Ammonites), were situated almost at the sur- 
faces of contact. 

Should not this single fact have been sufficient to have 
shewn that this gneiss could not possibly have been formed 
by plutonic metamorphism, without the thin strata of lime- 
stone being at the same time altered, their colour and the 
fossil remains destroyed? Nevertheless, the more such facts 
are accumulated, the more do the plutonic notions of meta- 
morphosis reappear again in a new form. 

Such extravagancies in empirical sciences are but little 
adapted to inspire respect for the investigation of nature in 
the public mind. Would it not be more creditable for 
scientific men at once to admit their inability to explain com- 
plicated phenomena, than to contrive hypotheses which stand 
in contradiction to all sound reasoning? What kind of idea 
would be formed of the geologists of the nineteenth century, 
should these pages be read a century hence, and it should be 
seen that views such as that of plutonic metamorphism 
were maintained, and cost so much trouble to disprove ? 

That metamorphic processes go on uninterruptedly, as 
well in the inorganic as the organic kingdom, is an indisput- 
able fact. If these cannot be explained by the action of heat, 
other methods must be adopted. I must now leave it to a 
future occasion to point out how far it has been possible to 
discover such. 

* Loc. cit., pp. 135, 158. 


On the Physical Geography, Geology, and Commercial Re- 
sources of Lake Superior* By J. J. BlGSBY, M.D., late 
British Secretary to the Canadian Boundary Commission, 
&c. Communicated by the Author. \ 

I. Physical Geography . 

Lake Superior is included between W. longitude 84° 18' and 92° 
19' — and N. latitude 46° 29' — 49° Y. It is to the east of, and 
near to, the swell of high land which, stretching from the Rocky 
Mountains to Lake Superior, in wide undulating plains, divides the 
waters of the Mexican Gulf from those of Hudson's Bay ; — and 
then, bifurcating, one fork proceeds on the north side of Lake Superior 
eastward towards Labrador, in groups of broken hills, while the 
other fork passes south-east as a rough and high country into the 
lowlands of the United States. It therefore occupies an oblong 
crescent-shaped hollow, with a general direction rather to the north 
of east. It has literally thousands of lakes on its north, and hundreds 
on its immediate south. It is 1750 miles round, 420 miles long, 
and 163 in extreme breadth. It is 597 feet above the Atlantic. 
Its greatest known depth is 792 feet. Soundings of 300, 400, 600 
feet are common ; but extensive shallows and flats prevail in parts. 

The hydrographic basin of Lake Superior is singularly small, 
particularly on the south shore, where the tributaries of the River 
Mississippi and Lake Michigan often approach within 5 and 10 miles 
of the lake. It seems to be its own fountainhead. 

The water is clear, greenish, extremely pure, pleasant to the 
taste, and soft from the nearly total absence of limestone from these 
regions. An imperial pint only contains smooth P ar *t or a grain of 
mineral matters — carbonates of lime and magnesia, sulphate of lime, 
peroxide of iron, and the oxide of manganese. 

The average annual temperature of the water is 40° F. ; being 
about the same as that of the ocean at certain great depths. In 
June, the lake is often covered with ice ; and in the middle of July, 
the surface-water freezes in the morning — with patches of snow in 
the clefts of the rocks. At this period of the year, or a few days 
later, the smaller lakes on the north are steadily at 72° and 74° F. 

Lake Superior is not undergoing secular drainage. It is lowest 
in April, and highest by a few feet, in September. The great annual 
variations of rain of these countries produce corresponding changes 
of level. There are no tides, and no cycle of years for lake-levels. 

Barometric changes produce curious local oscillations of level. 

* The statements in this communication are partly derived from the able 
reports and charts of Messrs Bayfield, Logan, Foster, Owen, and others in the 
service of the Governments of Great Britain and the United States, Dr Bigsby's 
own researches on the northern shores of the Lake, for 440 miles, having sup- 
plied the remainder. 

T Read in the Royal Institution. 

56 Dr J. J. Bigsby on the 

Thus the furious rapids, called the Falls of St Mary, on the river 
of discharge so named, are sometimes left dry. Messrs Foster and 
Whitney have seen the oscillation come from the centre of the lake 
in a wave 20 feet high — curling over like an immense surge, crested 
with foam, and breaking on the shore, diminishing as it approached it. 
On this occasion (Aug. 1 845) it was the harbinger of a violent storm.* 

The amount of water leaving the lake is small : for its outlet is 
often shallow, and the current weak. 

Tlie Climate is more arctic than temperate, although the lake is 
but little to the north of Milan. It is much colder than Sikla in 
Russian America, 10° further north; because the latter is screened 
from polar winds. Winter begins in the middle of October by a 
succession of gales and snow storms ; and from November till May 
the ground is covered with close packed, granular snow ; but the 
earth is not frozen deep, so that, in spring, before all the snow is 
gone, the forest is in leaf. The annual range of the thermometer 
is 125° F. the mean 42° 14' F.; the lower extreme — 31°, the higher 
94° ; all these observations having been made by good observers, 
with excellent instruments. August is the hottest month. 

On a mean of 12 years, the winds blow about equally from all 
quarters ; from the NW. the most frequently — from the south the 
least frequently. 

The scenery of Lake Superior is striking ; — its features are large 
and open (of which an example was shewn in a Sketch on the East 
Coast). The eye ranges over high lands and shoreless waters. 
The scanty and dwarfed woods of the north coast, the rocks, isles, 
and rivers full of cascades, have an impress of their own — not warm, 
soft, and umbrageous, like those of Lake Erie ; but rugged, bare, 
and chill — arctic. The scene is oceanic, — the waves are large and 
high. Some of the plants, the Lathy rus maritimus and the Poly- 
gonum maritimum, for instance, on the beaches, and many of the 
insects disporting about, are those of the distant Atlantic. 

In winter, Lake Superior might be called the " Dead Sea ;" 
every living thing is gone, save the shivering inhabitants of some 
few white settlements. The Indian and the wild animals have re- 
treated to the warm woods far away ; and the sun looks down, from 
a bright blue sky, on the leaden waters, now narrowed by huge fields 
of ice — a small dark speck on an almost illimitable expanse of snow. 

On the south shore, there are in the extreme east, high terraces 
and treeless plains of blown sand for many miles inland and along 
shore, succeeded by the high sandstone precipices, called the Pictured 
Rocks, battered into fanciful shapes by the violence of the waves. 
Then comes a low rocky coast for 200 miles or more, backed by 

* A violent gale of wind, concurring with a local rise of level., will some- 
times throw large stones or logs of wood 150 to 200 yards inland, and 30 to 40 
feet above the usual water margin- as in three instances seen by Prof. Agassiz 
(L, Superior, pp. 05 and 106), and by Dr Bigsby. (Jour. Roy. Inst, xviii. 15.) 

Geology of Lake Superior. 57 

dense forests, often mountainous, as at the Huron, Bohemian, and 
Porcupine Mountains. The scene is dark with the verdure of 
northern evergreens, and is here and there diversified with small 
clearings, and the smoke of distant mines ascending among the 
uplands. The bays are often deep, full of little iron-stained streams ; 
and the promontories stretch for miles into the lake. 

The eastern and northern shores are different — more naked, 
steeper, ever abounding in dome- shaped hills, or in ridges, rising 
by steps, scantily covered with trees either stunted or scorched with 
fire. (Large sketches were exhibited representing the lofty basaltic 
country about Fort- William, and the softer hill-scenery of Black 

Ba y-). 

With the exception of the Fur trading stations, there are no white 
settlements on the north shore ; and this from its general barren- 
ness. At the Peak River, soil was imported in bags with which to 
raise a few potatoes. 

The Fauna and Flora of Lake Superior are semi-arctic, or sub- 
alpine. Professor Agassiz has treated of both in his late valuable 
publication on this lake. He found twenty-three new species offish, 
and states that Lake Superior constitutes a special ichthyological dis- 
trict. The reason of this evidently lies in the coldness and extreme 
purity of the water, its slow departure towards the ocean, and the 
absence of weedy bays, and of lime rocks. 

It would seem that some portion of its animal life are waifs and 
strays from grand geological periods long passed away — as we see 
in its herrings, minnows, and the new genus Percopsis. Connected 
with this subject, Prof. Agassiz conjectures that much of North 
America was dry land when the rest of the world was under water ; 
and that thus its physical condition was less altered than elsewhere. 
Dr Bigsby was inclined to believe this ; for had Canada been as long 
under water as other large tracts, we should probably have had in 
some part of its vast extent, a member or two, at least, of the meso- 
zoic rocks ; but there is no such thing — not a single relic of lias, 
oolite, or chalk, in the extraordinary heaps of debris which overspread 
these countries. 

II. Geology. 

The rocks of Lake Superior have been arranged under three prin- 
cipal heads, as follows : — 

1. The Metamorphic. — Greenstone, chloritic, talcose, clay, and 

greenstone slates, gneiss, quartzite, jasper, rock and saccha- 
roid limestone. 

2. The Aqueous. — Calciferous sandstone, Cambrian sandstone 

and conglomerates. 

3. The Igneous. — Granite, Syenite, Trap, in various states. 
The place and extent of these rocks having been pointed out on a 

map, Dr Bigsby stated that the geological system of Lake Superior 

58 Dr J.J. Bigsby on the 

is a consistent and closely connected whole, forming a beautiful and 
easily read example of geological action in moulding the surface of 
our globe. 

The lake may best be presented at once to the mind as a trough 
or basin of Cambrian (or Silurian) sandstone, surrounded and 
framed, as it were, by two orders of rocks, in the form of irregular 
and imperfect zones ; the inner consisting of trap, with its conglo- 
merates ; and the outer, of metamorphic, flanking igneous rocks. 

1. The Metamorphic rocks, with the exception of quartzite and 
jasper, are the oldest in the lake, and support great sheets of the 
above-mentioned sandstone unconformably ; all these rocks being 
upheaved and altered by the intrusion of igneous rocks in instances 
innumerable. This group of rocks is entirely destitute of the traces 
of animal life. 

The country they occupy on the south shore, with a general 
NNW. dip, may be best described as a rough table land of the 
various slates, out of which short hills of granite, gneiss, trap, &c, 
emerge in great numbers, with an almost constant east and west 

On the east and north shores the metamorphic rocks have a W. 
and WSW. strike, when visible. The slates of the north side of 
Michipicoton Bay run WNW., NW„ and N. 

The jasper and quartzite are merely altered sandstone and there- 
fore younger than the other rocks of this group. 

2. The Aqueous Rocks. — The youngest of these is calciferous 
sandstone. It exists as a broad band on the south-east shore, resting 
on the sandstone soon to be noticed. It is highly magnesian and 
siliceous in parts. A patch of it in Grand Island contains shells. 

The Cambrian Sandstone seems to be the floor or basement of 
nearly all the lake, for the following reasons : — 

1. Wherever it occurs, whether in immense sheets on the east 
and south shore, or in smaller areas on the north coast, it 
invariably dips towards the centre of the lake. 

2. It can be recognised, paving the lake for some miles from 
the main in many places. 

3. The soundings of Captain Bayfield exhibit, for large spaces, 
the uniformity of level to be expected from the presence of 
horizontal strata. 

4. Because it constitutes Caribou Island, 40 miles from the 
nearest main land. 

This sandstone is very ancient ; and is supposed by Mr Logan 
to be Cambrian on the north shore, and lower Silurian on the south — 
a supposition, the latter clause of which, though extremely probable, 
is not yet established. 

It has no fossils ; but its ripple marks, impressions of rain-drops, 
a n<l sun-cracks, are plentiful and perfect. 

Geology of Lake Superior. 59 

It is more commonly red, and is composed of the debris of gra- 
nitoid rocks, in nearly horizontal strata, except near intrusive rocks, 
when it rises to a high angle, hardens, and even passes into true 
jasper, porphyry, gneiss, or quartzite. There is reason to think 
that this sandstone is interleaved with trap. (A Landscape was ex- 
hibited of the Sandstone Rocks, south shore.) 

The conglomerate is of the same age with much of the sandstone ; 
and is almost invariably placed between it and the trap. 

The conglomerates of Keweenaw and Isle Royale, consist of 
rounded boulders of trap, with a few jaspers, cemented by red iron 
sand ; but those of Memince and Nipigon contain also granites, 
quartzites, and sandstones ; thus indicating a difference of age. 

3. Igneous Rocks. — Granite everywhere forms the nucleus of an 
anticlinal axis, in two parallel lines running E. and W. on the south- 
east side of the lake, flanked by metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. 
Both it and syenite are plentiful. 

Trap Rocks. — The ancient lavas of the lake are in very large 
quantities, and are well displayed. They are the great depositories 
of copper. For convenience sake, they may be divided into three 
principal forms. 

1st. The highly crystalline mountain masses, — sometimes anti- 
clinal and syenitic. 
2d. The bedded trap, at various angles of inclination. 
3d. Dikes intersecting igneous and metamorphic rocks. 

They are all portions of one long series of volcanic operations. 

Trap creates the great headland of Keweenaw, with its lines of 
stair-like cliffs and hills. (It was shewn in a large diagram and 
described as typical of the trap of the whole lake.) The trap of 
Keweenaw is met with in three contiguous and parallel belts, going 
WSW., and separated by bands of conglomerate, sometimes very 
thin, often numerous, and prolonged sometimes for 40 or 50 miles. 
These three belts have been named the outer, northern, and southern ; 
the last being highly crystalline, or syenitic, and abounding in chlorite. 
It is an anticlinal to the rocks on both sides. The other two belts 
are bedded traps, and with their interleaved conglomerates dip 
northerly. They all coalesce at Portage Lake, and after proceeding 
to Montreal River, 130 miles in the. whole, soon after disappear 
under horizontal sandstone westwards. 

The north belt is the most metalliferous ; and contains the cele- 
brated Cliff and other rich mines. In the Keweenaw district it is 
the cross vein which yields the native copper — either in sheets and 
blocks or mixed in with the usual crystallizations, such as datholite, 
prehnite, stilbite, quartz, &c. 

On the Ontonagon River the metalliferous veins run with the strike. 
The copper is pure, and has interspersed through its substance scales 
of pure silver ; but without chemical union. 

60 Dr J. J. Bigsby on the 

The copper is confined to the trap, as a universal rule. 

The north shore of Lake Superior is eminently trappose ; and 
especially about Fort- William, where a region at least 120 miles 
long consists of basalt, amygdaloid, porphyries, jasper, conglomerate, 
and sandstone in the same mutual relations as on the south shore. 

The trap dikes, traversing granites and other crystalline rocks 
indifferently, are a singular feature on the north shore, and abound 
chiefly from Written llocks to the bottom of Michipicoton Bay. By 
their dark and undeviating course through the gray, red, or green 
rocks of the rugged coast, they strike the eye of the most incurious — 
if only as ruined staircases, crossing bays and headlands and climb- 
ing hills for miles. Their size, number, and direction are irregular. 
They may be solitary, or twenty in company — sometimes all parallel 
and close together. They often run with the general trend of the 

Mr Logan divides them into three varieties, according as they are 
homogeneous, syenitic or porphyritic. 

Professor Agassiz distributes the dikes of the whole lake into six 
systems — each with its own mineral character and direction — its 
own epoch of upheaval ; and each he announces to have been an 
important agent in giving shape and direction to the district in which 
it occurs. He truly says that the general outline of the lake is the 
combined effect of many minor geological events taking place at 
different periods. With some truth in it, this theory does not seem 
to take into sufficient account the pre-existing metamorphic and 
granitic rocks, and it overlooks the variety observed in the directions 
of the dikes in the same neighbourhood. 

Dr B. stated that if he might be allowed to hazard an opinion, it 
would be. that this curious assemblag-e of dikes — abounding as much 
in the S. as on the N. coast — pervading all the crystalline rocks 
indiscriminately, had ascended independently from the unseen, dis- 
tant mass of trap beneath. They appear in many ways peculiar, 
and have no visible connection with the traps he had been describing. 

Before the emergence of either traps or granites, Lake Superior 
received its great outlines from the metamorphic rocks, — thrown 
into their present position by still earlier upward movements : for 
on the eastern half of both shores of the lake they strike E. and W. 
with little variation ; while on the western half, these far extending 
rock-masses strike WSW. and SW., — giving thus to the lake 
a general eastward direction, with a gentle curve to the north, as 
stated before. This done, Cambrian sandstone slowly took posses- 
sion of the trough of the lake — just as we see a certain shell marl 
is doing now. The anticlinal granites, which appeared afterwards, 

* Vide Quart. Journal of Roy. Inst. vol. win., p. 244. Bigsby on Lak< 


Commercial Resources of Lake Superior. 61 

only concurred in the same effects ; shaping and elevating the ad- 
jacent lands. 

In after-geological times important modifications arose in the form 
of the lake. Promontories were pushed out, and islands raised up 
by successive outbursts and overflows of trap from separate fissures 
of great length — those for example of Keweenaw, Thunder Moun- 
tain, and Isle Royale — all intercalcated with conglomerates, formed 
in agitated seas between eruptions ; — at different and most probably 
distant times, judging from the fact that some of the conglomerates 
are altogether trappose, while others abound in granite and other 

We thus obtain the general order of all these events, and little 
more ; but the knowledge is worth having. From the position of 
the uplifted mural cliffs, we see that the upheaving impulse came 
from the south-east. 

Drift. — The groovings and strise are almost always northerly here. 
New proofs are daily accumulating to shew more decisively the 
northerly origin of the foreign drift of Lake Superior. One of these 
is the fact that the limestone boulders on the north shore are upper 
Silurian,* and derived from the large calcareous basins some hundreds 
of miles north of Lake Superior : from whence Dr B. had brought 
characteristic fossils. Another is found in the occurrence of boul- 
ders of iron ore, in heaps, on the north side of certain cliffs, but 
which are absent on the south side — the original site of the ore 
being to the north of the cliffs, and near Lake Superior. 

A Sketch was exhibited of a Wisconsin prairie, dotted with northern 
blocks dropped from icebergs. — From Dr D. Owen. 

III. Commercial Resources. 

Agriculture will only be carried on in parts of the south shore. 
Large quantities of white fish and of furs are annually exported. 

The chief staple of Lake Superior is native copper. For ages 
before the appearance of Europeans in America, this metal was sup- 
plied from hence to the Indian nations far and near. The tumuli 
of the Mississippi, &c, contain the identical copper of this lake. 
Traces of ancient mining in Keweenaw, Ontonagon, and Isle Royale, 
are abundant, in the form of deep pits (a ladder in one), rubbish, 
stone mauls, hammers, wedges, and chisels of hardened copper. In 
a native excavation, near the river Ontonagon, with trees five hundred 
years old growing over it, lately lay a mass of pure copper 81 tons 
in weight, partly fused and resting on skids of black oak. 

Modern explorers have hitherto only found two centres of metallic 
riches on the south coast, — that of Keweenaw and of Ontonagon. 
In the first are the valuable mines of the Cliff, North American, 

* Containing Pentamerus, Spirifer, Leptaena (alternata) atrypa, various 
corals, minute trilobites, orthocerae, and some cytherinae. 

62 W. R. Grove, Esq., on the 

North- Western, and other companies. In the Ontonagon centre are 
the Minnesota and fifteen other mines. 

At the Cliff mine three large steam engines are employed (1852) ; 
with 250 men ; — and at the North American mine, two engines, 
with 160 men. Most of the other mines, forty in number, are 
assisted by steam-power. Three thousand miners are in work alto- 
gether, and the general population is fast increasing. Native copper 
is the principal object. Silver is always present, and occasionally in 
masses of considerable size. According to authentic accounts, dated 
February 1852, many new mines have been opened lately ; and all 
are worked more systematically than heretofore, — generally by con- 

There are now in the Cliff mine masses of pure copper within view 
estimated to weigh 700 tons in the whole ; and on the lands of the 
Minnesota Company, one block weighing 250 tons. The copper 
shipped in 1851 was about 1600 tons, valued at £130,000. This 
copper is stated to be of great excellence in the manufacture of wire, 
ordnance, and ship-sheathing. 

The large beds of specular and magnetic iron ore, on the south- 
east side of the lake, are as yet only worked on a small scale. 

At this moment the business of mining has ceased on the Canadian 
side of the lake. There is little doubt, however, but that profitable 
deposits will, sooner or later, be discovered here. 

On the Heating Effects of Electricity and Magnetism.* 
By W. R. Grove, Esq., M.A., F.R.S. 

In the early periods of philosophy, when any unusual phenomenon 
attracted the attention of thinking men, it was frequently referred to 
a preternatural or spiritual cause ; thus, with regard to the subject 
about to be discussed, when the attraction of light substances by 
rubbed amber was first observed, Thales referred it to a soul or 
spiritual power possessed by the amber. 

Passing to the period antecedent to the time of more strict induc- 
tive philosophy, viz., the period of the Alchemists, we find many 
natural phenomena referred to spiritual causes. Paracelsus taught 
that the Archaeus or stomach demon presided over, caused, and regu- 
lated the functions of digestion, assimilation, &c. 

Van Helmont, who may be considered in many respects the turn- 
ing point between alchemy and true chemistry, adopted with some 
modification the Archaaus of Paracelsus and many of the opinions of 
the Spiritualists, but shewed tendencies of a more correctly inductive 
character ; the term ' Gas,' which he introduced, gives evidence of 

* Delivered in the Royal Institution, February 13, 1852. 

Heating Effects of Electricity and Magnetism. 63 

the thought involved in it by its derivation from ' Geist,' a ghost or 
spirit. By regarding it as intermediate between spirit and matter, 
by separating it from common air, and by distinguishing or classify- 
ing different sorts of gas, he paved the way for a more accurate 
chemical system. 

Shortly after the time of Van Helmont, lived Torricelli, who, by 
his discovery of the weight of air, was mainly instrumental in chang- 
ing the character of thought, and inducing philosophers to introduce, 
or at all events to develope, the notion of fluids as agents which 
effected the more mysterious phenomena of nature, such as light, 
heat, electricity, and magnetism. 

Air being proved analogous in many of its characters to fluids as 
previously known, the idea of fluids or of an ether was carried on to 
other unknown agencies appearing to present effects remotely analo- 
gous to air or gases. 

Sound was included by some in the same category with the other 
affections of matter, and as late as the close of the last century, a 
paper was written by Lamarck to prove that sound was propagated 
by the undulations of an ether. Sound is now admitted to be an un- 
dulation or motion of ordinary matter, and Mr Grove considered that 
what have been called the imponderables, or imponderable fluids, 
might be actions of a similar character, and might be viewed as 
motions of ordinary matter. 

Heat was at an early period so viewed, and we find traces of this 
in the writings of Lord Bacon. Rum ford and Davy gave the doc- 
trine a greater development ; and Mr Grove, in a communication 
made by him at an evening meeting of this Institution in 1847, 
shewed that what had hitherto been deemed stumblingblocks in the 
way of this theory of heat, viz., the phenomena presented by what 
have been called latent and specific heat, might be more simply ex- 
plained by the dynamic theory. 

In this evening's communication, he brought forward some experi- 
ments and considerations in favour of the extension of this view to 
electricity and magnetism, an extension which he had for many years 
advocated, and which was, in his opinion, supported by many analogies. 

The ordinary attractions and repulsions of electrified bodies present 
no more difficulties when regarded as being produced by a change in 
the state or relations of the matter affected, than did the attraction 
of the earth by the sun, or of a leaden ball by the earth ; the hypo- 
thesis of a fluid is not considered necessary for the latter, and need 
not be so for the former class of phenomena. 

In the cases of heating or ignition of a conjunctive wire or con- 
ducting body through which what is called electricity is transmitted, 
we have many evidences that the matter itself is affected, and in 
some cases temporarily, in others, permanently changed ; thus if a 
wire of lead is ignited to fusion by the voltaic battery, the fused lead 
being kept in a channel to prevent its dispersion, it gradually shortens, 

64 W. 11. Grove, Esq., on (lie 

and the molecules seem impressed with a force acting transversely to 
the line of direction of the electricity ; at length the lead gathers up 
in nodules, which press on each other as do, to use a familiar illustra- 
tion, a string of fio-s. 

With magnetism we have many instances of the molecular change 
which a ferreous or magnetic suhstance undergoes when magnetised. 
If the particles are free to move, as for instance iron filings, they 
arrange themselves symmetrically. An objection may be made 
arising from the peculiar form of the iron filings, but Mr Grove in 
the year 1845, shewed that the supernatant liquid in which magnetic 
oxide had been formed, and which contains magnetic particles not 
mechanically but chemically divided, exhibits when magnetised a 
change in the arrangement of the molecules, as may be seen by its 
effect on transmitted light ; — a molecular change is also evidenced by 
the note or sound produced by magnetism, and by other effects. 

Assuming that the molecules of iron change their position inter se 
upon magnetisation, then by repeated magnetisation in opposite di- 
rections, something analogous to friction might be produced ; and 
just as a piece of caoutchouc when elongated produces heat (as it was 
on this occasion experimentally shewn to do), so a bar of soft iron 
might be expected when subjected to rapid changes in its magnetic 
state, to exhibit thermic effects, 

With the aid of the large magnet of the Institution and of a com- 
mutator for changing the direction of the electricity, a bar of soft 
iron was alternately magnetised in opposite directions ; and in a few 
minutes a thermometer placed in an aperture in the iron shewed a 
rise of temperature of 1° 5' Fahrenheit ; the bar being separated 
from the magnet by flannel, and the magnet being at a notably lower 
temperature than the bar, this heat could in nowise be attributed to 

The effect of electricity in the disruptive discharge as in the voltaic 
arc and the electric spark, would seem at first sight to offer greater 
difficulties of explanation on the dynamic theory. The brilliant 
phenomenal effects of the electric discharge, and the apparent ab- 
sence of change in the matter affected by it, would at first lead the 
observer to believe that electricity was a specific entity. 

With ordinary flame or the apparent effects of combustion how- 
ever, the idea has, to a great extent been abandoned, that such visual 
effects are due to specific matter, and it is regarded by many as an 
intense motion of the particles of the burning body. So with elec- 
tricity ; if in regard to the disruptive discharge it can be shewn 
that the matter of the terminals or of the intervening medium is 
changed, the necessity for the assumption of a fluid or ether ceases, 
and, to say the least, a possibility of viewing electricity as a motion 
or affection of ordinary matter is opened. 

To make evident to the audience the relation of the electrical dis- 
charge to combustion and the fact that the terminals were themselves 

Heating Effects of Electricity and Magnetism. 65 

affected, the voltaic arc was taken, first between silver and then be- 
tween iron terminals ; in the first case, a brilliant green-coloured 
flame was produced, and in the second, a reddish scintillation or spur- 
fire effect, just as in the ordinary combustion of the metals. 

So with the discharge of Franklinic electricity between the same 
two metals, a strip of silvered leather gave the bright green discharge, 
while a chain of iron gave the spur-fire effect. 

The known transport of particles of the terminals from one pole 
to the other, — the different effects of different intervening media on 
induction, as shewn in Faraday's experiments. — the polar tension of 
such media, &c, were instances of the train of molecular changes 
consequent upon electrical action. 

Hitherto the polarity of the gaseous medium existing between 
the metallic or conducting terminals of the electrical circuit was only 
known as a physical polarity, and not shewn to have an analogous 
chemical character with that existing in electrolytes anterior to elec- 
trolysis ; but Mr Grove stated that in a recent communication to 
the Royal Society he had shewn that mixtures of gases having oppo- 
site electrical or chemical relations, such as oxygen and hydrogen, or 
compound gases such as carbonic oxide, were electro-chemically 
polarized, or had their electro-negative and electro-positive elements 
thrown in opposite directions : thus, if a silvered plate be made 
positive in such gases it is oxidised, if negative the dark spot of oxide 
is reduced ; and an experiment was shewn in which such a plate was 
thus oxidised and the spot reduced in gaseous media. 

Here, as in the other experiments, was an effect on the terminals, 
and an effect of polarization of the intermedium. In the experi- 
ments hitherto shewn, solid terminals were used; it became impor- 
tant to examine what would be the effect of liquid terminals, for in- 
stance water ; the spark or disruptive discharge of Franklinic elec- 
tricity was readily obtained from its surface, but hitherto no voltaic 
battery had been found to shew a discharge at any sensible distance 
from the surface of water. 

Mr Gassiot had procured to be constructed 500 cells of the nitrk 
acid battery, the combination discovered in 1839 by Mr Grove, and 
first shewn at this Institution in the year 1840. The cells of this 
battery were all well insulated by glass stems, and as regards inten- 
sity of action it was probably far the most powerful ever seen. Mr 
Gassiot had kindly lent this apparatus for the illustratiou of this 
evening's discourse, and by its aid Mr Grove was able to shew an 
experiment which he had first made when experimenting with Mr 
Gassiot some time ago, and which produced the effect he had long 
sought for, viz., a quantitative or voltaic discharge at a sensible dis- 
tance from the surface of water. The experiment was made as fol- 
lows : — a platinum plate forming the anode of the battery was im- 
mersed in a capsule of distilled water, the temperature of which was 
raised. A cathode or negative terminal of platinum wire was now 

VOL. LIII. NO. CV.— JULY 1852. E 

66 On (he Heating Effects of Electricity and Magnetism. 

made to touch for a moment the surface of the water aud imme- 
diately withdrawn to a distance of about a quarter of an inch ; the 
discharge took place, the extremity of the platinum wire was fused, 
and the molten platinum attached to the wire, but kept up by the 
peculiar repulsive effect of the discharge, was exhibited, as it were, 
suspended in mid-air, giving an intense light, throwing off scintilla- 
tions in directions away from the water, and only detaching itself 
from the wire when agitated. 

Here water in the vaporous state must be transferred, for the im- 
mersed electrode gave off gas, without doubt oxygen, and the mole- 
cular action on the negative fused platinum resembled, if it were not 
identical in character with, the currents observed on the surface of 
mercury when made negative in an electrolyte. 

It may be objected to the theory proposed, that electrical effects 
are obtained in what is called a vacuum, where there is no intermedium 
to be polarized ; but this objection, though not applicable to the pro- 
jection of the terminals, could hardly be discussed until experimen- 
talists had gone much further than at present in the production of a 
vacuum. The experiments of Davy and others had shewn that we 
are far off from obtaining any thing like a vacuum where delicate in- 
vestigations are concerned. 

The view of the ancient philosophers, that nature abhors a vacuum, 
which had been much cavilled at, and was supposed to be exploded 
by the discovery of Torricelli, Mr Grove thought had been unjustly 
censured : giving the expression some degree of metaphorical license, 
it afforded a fine evidence of the extent and accuracy of observation 
of those who were unacquainted with inductive philosophy as a sys- 
tem, but who necessarily pursued it in practice. Whether a vacuum 
was possible might be an open question ; experimentally it was un- 

Lastly, in answer to those who might ask, To what practical results 
do researches such as these lead ? what accession of physical comfort 
or luxury do they bring ? Mr Grove took occasion to offer his humble 
protest against opinions now perhaps too generally prevalent, that 
science was to be viewed only or mainly in its utilitarian or practical 
bearings. Even regarding it in this aspect, were it not for the de- 
votion which the love of knowledge, which the yearning anxiety to 
penetrate into the mysteries of our being and of surrounding exist- 
ences induced ; the practical results of science would not have been 
attained ; the band of martyrs to science, from Socrates to Galileo, 
would not have thought aud suffered without a higher incentive than 
the acquisition of utilitarian results. Without disparaging these results, 
indeed regarding them as necessary consequences of any advance in 
scientific knowledge, be considered that the love of truth and know- 
ledge for themselves was the great animating principle of those who 
rightly pursued science ; that, based upon an enduring quality of 
our common nature, this feeling was rooted in far firmer foundations, 

On the liecent Progress of Ethnology. 67 

that it led to greater and more self-sacrificing exertions, than any 
capable of being induced by the hopes of augmenting social acquisi- 
tions, and was an attribute and an evidence of the non-transient part 
of our being. 

On the Recent Progress of Ethnology, being the Annual Dis- 
course for 1852. Read before the Ethnological Society, at the 
Annual Meeting, on 14th May 1852. By RICHARD CuLL, 
Esq., Honorary Secretary. Communicated by the Ethno- 
logical Society. 

We may congratulate ourselves on the continued and in- 
creasing interest which the educated classes of society are 
taking in ethnological knowledge. It is now practically 
admitted that the science of Ethnology is worthy of being cul- 
tivated. It is true that its claims have been tardily admit- 
ted ; but we must remember that, in commercial countries, 
a science which does not promise to be pecuniarily profitable, 
has not those attractions which insure the devoted attention 
of crowds of students. 

The desire of the public for systematic knowledge of our 
science, is evinced by the steady demand for the standard 
works on Ethnology, by the publication of so many new ones, 
by the popularity of lectures on the subject, and by the fre- 
quent introduction of Ethnology as a topic of conversation in 
general society. 

Considerable attention was drawn to our science during 
the last year by the appearance of so many foreigners in 
London, who came to visit the Great Exhibition. And to 
witness the many varieties of man, assembled from every 
region of the earth in the Crystal Palace, calmly studying 
the productions of each other, was not the least of the won- 
j ders of that fairy-like creation whose physical existence is 
now about to pass away from us. 

The differentia, both physical and non-physical, in the 

j varieties of man, are so patent to observation, as not only 

to attract attention, but to rivet it, and absorb it. Some 


68 Richard Cull, Esq., on the 

students, indeed, are unable to advance beyond the study 
of these differences. They constitute, however, only the 
threshold of our temple. Resemblances must also be 
studied. This tendency of the mind to fix itself on the differ- 
ences in the varieties of man may be called the student's bias 
of mind. We occasionally find this bias of mind remaining 
in after life, and manifesting itself in over-estimating the 
value of those differences in relation to the resemblances. 

Ethnology is a science of yesterday. Daubenton's obser- 
vations on the situation of the foramen ovale, and Campers' 
on the facial angle, were the result of researches to discover 
a physical index to the mental capacity. In 1790 Blumen- 
bach published his Anatomical Description of Ten Skulls, in 
order to shew how certain varieties of man differ from each 
other in cranial form. In 1820 Blumenbach completed his 
work, having altogether described sixty-five skulls. 

In 1791 Dr Gall published the first part of an extensive 
work, in which we see the spirit in which his researches 
into the moral and intellectual nature of man were con- 
ducted. The great and fundamental principle was the com- 
parison of cerebral form with the manifestation of mental 
qualities. In 1796 Dr Gall began to lecture at Vienna ; and 
in 1798 we find him complaining, in a letter to his friend, 
Baron Retzer, that he was called a craniologist. " The pro- 
per object of my researches is the brain. The cranium is 
only a faithful cast of the external surface, and is conse- 
quently but a minor part of the principal object.'' In this 
letter he speaks of national heads in relation to national 
character. And to Dr Gall and his disciples we are most 
indebted for collecting crania, casts of crania, and casts of 
heads of the several varieties of man. 

Ethnologists have much yet to do in collecting crania from 
various countries, and still more to do in ascertaining the re- 
lationship of these crania to each other, both in time and space. 
The mere geography of certain forms of cranium is but the 
first step of a great inquiry. We seek to know if one form 
of cranium passes into another. If so, under what circum- 
stances, both physical and non-physical, does a mutation of 
form take place 1 Our Society might, perhaps, with advan- 

Recent Progress of Ethnology . 69 

tage, draw attention to those ethnological questions which 
require solution to enable us to advance to higher general- 

The literature of Ethnology like that of other sciences, 
may be conveniently considered under two general heads, 
viz., as that which — 

1. Advances Ethnology ; and 

2. Diffuses a knowledge of Ethnology. 

It is quite true that a work written to advance the science, 
does also, to a certain extent, diffuse a knowledge of the 
science ; but a work that is written to teach the science does 
not necessarily advance it, and hence the distinction. Dur- 
ing the past year, works have been written with both these 
objects in view. I proceed briefly to notice them. 

Three works on Ethnology from the pen of one of our Fel- 
lows, Dr Latham, have appeared since last May. " The 
Ethnology of the British Colonies and Dependencies" is a 
small work, which represents a course of lectures which Dr 
Latham delivered at the Royal Institution, Manchester, dur- 
ing February and March 1851. " Man and his Migrations'* 
is another small work, and which also represents a course of 
lectures which the author delivered at the Mechanics' Insti- 
tution, Liverpool, in March 1851. These works being de- 
voted to the teaching of what is known, i.e., to the diffusion 
of Ethnological knowledge, require no further notice on this 

Dr Latham's edition of the Germania of Tacitus, with 
Ethnological dissertations, is a valuable contribution to our 
science. The object of the work, is to exhibit in detail, the 
Ethnology of ancient Germany. The means of effecting this 
object is the study of the different languages of the families 
and nations descended from and allied to the Germans of 
Tacitus. We all know the difficulty of reconciling the Eth- 
nology of Germany at different epochs in the historic period 
with the Germania of Tacitus. The question, as Dr Latham 
no 'dees, is not whether certain nations of the Germanise are 
rightly placed therein, but whether Tacitus' test of German- 
ism was the same as ours ; and whether, if different, more 

70 Richard Cull, Esq., on the 

We know that nearly the whole of that part of the Ger- 
mania of Tacitus east of the Elbe, as well as certain parts 
west of the Elbe, were, at the beginning of the proper his- 
torical period, i.e., in the reign of Charlemagne not Germanic 
but Slavonic. Did Tacitus confound Slavonians with Ger- 
mans % Did the German population of Tacitus entirely aban- 
don that tract of country, and a Slavonian population take 
its place % These are questions which Dr Latham has treated 
in detail with great ability. The country east of the Elbe 
was only dimly sketched by Tacitus. The period when it 
became known in detail, and from personal knowledge, is 
the reign of Charlemagne. Accurate geographical knowledge 
of this region was scarcely possible to Tacitus. 

It is not enough, as Dr Latham remarks, to know how a 
modern writer classifies the varieties of man. The reader of 
Tacitus must also know the view that the ancients took of 
those varieties. The ancients had clear notions of the dif- 
ferences between the group to which they themselves be- 
longed, i.e., the Classical group, and the groups to which the 
so-called (3ao(3ugoi belonged. This notion, clear as it was, was 
limited to one direction. It comprehended only the points 
of difference. Modern science has extended the notion to 
comprehend points of resemblance also. The resemblances 
which brought the Slavonians and Goths into the same group 
with the Classical stock — the great group called Indo-Euro- 
pean, were utterly unknown to the ancients. 

" The Unity of the Human races proved to be the Doctrine 
of Scripture, Reason, and Science. By Thomas Smyth, 

This work, which appeared in Edinburgh late last autumn, 
is a reprint, revised and much enlarged by the author, of the 
American edition. The American edition grew out of three 
discourses, and various articles by the same author, which 
appeared in several Theological Journals in the United 
States ; and which were written to controvert the position of 
Professor Agassiz, that the origin of the human race is mul- 
tiform. Professor Agassiz is well known as a profound na- 
turalist, whose opinions are entitled to much respect. As a 
naturalist, the Professor declares there is no common or se- 

Recent Progress of Ethnology. 7 1 

veral centres of origin for the lower animals, but that they 
were all created in the localities which they naturally occupy, 
and in which they breed, either in pairs or multitudes. The 
same is asserted of man. There is no common central ori- 
gin for man, but an indefinite number of separate creations 
from which the races of man have sprung. The Professor 
fortifies this opinion by an appeal to the Holy Scriptures. He 
says the Biblical history of the creation of man is that of only 
one race, viz., that of Adam ; and that Adam and Eve were 
not the only pair created, nor even the first created of hu- 
man beings. 

Professor Agassiz thinks there was a distinct origin and 
separate creation for each race. And that each creation took 
place in that locality which the race naturally occupies. 

On these views Dr Smyth joins issue ; and in some very 
able controversial writings and lectures, has strenuously ar- 
gued for the unity of the human race. Those controversial 
works have formed the basis of a systematic work in which 
he labours to shew, that Scripture, reason, and science con- 
cur in proving the unity of the human race. Dr Smyth's 
eloquent and forcible book partakes in some degree of the 
controversial spirit, but even with that drawback, it is well 
worthy the attention of ethnologists. 

Dr Smyth devotes three chapters to the statement of the 
Historical and Doctrinal Evidence of Scripture on the unity 
of the human race. " This doctrine, be it observed, Scripture 
teaches us, not as a matter of scientific knowledge, but as the 
foundation of all human obligation, and of the universality of 
all human charity. 1 ' — (P. 112.) But as regards ethnological 
details, " the tenth and eleventh chapters of Genesis are un- 
questionably the best ethnographical document on the face of 
the earth." — (P. 100.) The importance of the doctrine to 
Christianity cannot be overrated ; for, " it will be at once 
perceived that the gospel must stand or fall with the doc- 
trine of the unity of the human races. '' — (P. 112.) 

With so high an estimate of the importance of this doc- 
trine to our highest interests, we are prepared for the ur- 
gency with which it is advocated. As a theologian, Dr Smyth 
places in the front rank his Scripture evidence. " The truth 

72 Richard Cull, Esq., on the 

and certainty of the unity of the human races has now, we 
believe, been established as an incontrovertible fact. It rests 
upon the unmistakeable evidence of the infallible "Word of 
God, who, in the beginning, made of one blood all the nations 
of men to dwell on all the face of the earth." But with- 
out bating a jot of the value of his theological argument, 
Dr Smyth boldly enters the ethnological arena, fully con- 
vinced that ethnological conclusions must be drawn from 
ethnological data ; and, accordingly, he discusses the ques- 
tion " of the nature and philosophy of species," and then 
ably argues that, " The unity of the races is proved by the 
unity of the species ;" that " the unity of races is proved by 
their common fertility, and by the infertility of hybrids," and 
then grappling with the philological argument that, " the unity 
of the races is proved from the universality, nature, and con- 
nection of languages.'' 

Dr Smyth then quits the scientific data and reasoning, to 
call in the aid of history and tradition ; and thence he appeals 
to experience, and the insensible gradations of the varieties, 
as arguments for the unity of the races of men. Dr Smyth 
does not evade the difficulties which surround his view of the 
question. Professor Agassiz and other mere naturalists, lay 
great stress upon the fixedness of the physical characters 
of the several varieties of man, that these characters have 
been fixed certainly from the earliest dawn of history ; whence 
it is argued that the races of men have always been separated 
by the same amount of differences. Dr Smyth fairly states 
the argument of the Professor, and devotes a chapter to the 
"Origin of the Varieties of the Human Species," and this chap- 
ter is well worthy of attention. Amongst the interesting 
portions of the book is an appendix, " On the former Civilisa- 
tion of Black Races of Men ;" and a note " On the Veddahs 
of Ceylon.' 1 

In several respects Dr Smyth's is a remarkable and valu- 
able work. It may be considered as a contribution to the 
bibliography of our science. It is a compendium of all that 
has been written on that side of the question. His authori- 
ties are duly cited, without any parade of learning, without 
egotism, without any assumptions of superior sanctity ; and 
with strict impartiality does he state his opponents' views. 

Recent Progress of Ethnology. 73 

There is with all this so much originality and deep interest 
in the subject, that the reader is carried along, without at all 
thinking of the author himself. 

Our associate Mr Logan's Journal of the Indian Archi- 
pelago and Eastern Asia continues to record most important 
information of the Malay and other peoples of that Archi- 
pelago. The history, antiquities, languages, and ethnology 
of the Malays is gradually being brought to European know- 
ledge by Mr Logan, and his band of contributors living 
at and around Singapore, who are so praiseworthily labouring 
for science in that distant region. 

Mr Logan's extensive knowledge of Malay dialects gives 
a peculiar value to his philological researches, and his inti- 
mate knowledge of the physical, intellectual, and moral cha- 
racter of the Malays give him great vantage-ground in his 
ethnological researches of the Indo-Pacific islands. The 
ethnology of the central Malay nations is now becoming 
more distinct, and is assuming a more definite outline, which 
will clear the way to a fuller appreciation of the facts con- 
nected with the outlying tribes and offshoots which are so 
widely scattered over the islands of the Pacific. I commend 
to your especial attention Mr Logan's researches, which you 
will find recorded in the 4th and 5th volumes of his Journal 
of the Eastern Archipelago. 

Captain Denham is now about to sail with an expedition 
which is placed under his command to make a survey of 
certain groups of islands on the east of Australia. We may 
therefore expect new and valuable details of the Ethnology 
of that region. 

I think the time has now arrived when a report on the 
Ethnology of the Pacific Islands might be drawn up, by 
which means special attention would be drawn to the nature 
and amount of our ignorance of the details of that ethnology. 

We all regretted the early death of Captain Owen Stanley, 
who died in command of the Rattlesnake, while on her sur- 
veying voyage. Mr Macgillivray, the naturalist to the expe- 
dition, has written an account of the scientific results of the 
voyage. Very important knowledge has been collected in 
various departments of science. Amongst others, some 

74 Richard Cull, Esq., on the 

valuable contributions have been made to Ethnology. The 
survey of Torres' Straits was important in a commercial and 
maritime point of view. The Ethnology of this district, in- 
cluding both sides of the Straits, Timor, &c, is most impor- 
tant in relation to the great questions of the route of migra- 
tion of the Malays to people the islands of the Pacific, and 
that of the black race (Papuans'?) to people N. Australia. 
Materials are now fast collecting, which will, it is hoped, ere 
long enable us to form some connected view of the Ethnology 
of this region. 

" Steene Bille's Bericht der Reise der Galathea um die 

This book is an account of a voyage of discovery round 
the world of the Galathea, a Danish corvette, commanded by 
Captain Bille. 

The great object of the expedition was to obtain more 
accurate and positive knowledge of the Nicobar Islands, a 
Danish colony in the Bay of Bengal, with a view to that 
Government's decision as to the expediency of retaining the 
colony. The Galathea proceeded by the Cape of Good Hope 
to Madras, Calcutta, and these islands. Thence she passed 
through the Straits of Malacca, to Batavia, the Philippines, 
China, the South Sea Islands, and home by Cape Horn. 

The Danish edition is in three volumes, the German, by 
omission of an appendix and other curtailing, is compressed 
into two volumes. I have only seen the German edition. 
The voyage occupied two years, from 1845 to 1847, and the 
delay of publication was caused by the political events which 
have so much agitated Europe for the last four years. The 
chief value to us is the very complete account of the Ethno- 
logy of the Nicobar Islands. The appendix contains voca- 
bularies of the Nicobar and Negrito languages, which I regret 
are not in the German edition, and the scientific (ethnological) 
part has evidently been abridged also. This I regret ; for 
while German is generally read, we find but few who read 

We are indebted to another of our fellows, Dr Daniell, for 
gathering important details of the Ethnology of Western 
Africa. Dr Daniell has resided for several years on the 

Recent Progress of Ethnology. lb 

Guinea Coast, where he has laboured for the advancement of 
several sciences. His paper on the natives of Old Callebar, 
printed in our first volume, established his reputation as an 
ethnologist. His recent papers on Akkrah and Adampe will 
sustain that reputation. He has filled up lacunae in our know- 
ledge of African Ethnology ; and we may confidently look for 
more knowledge as the result of new investigations which he 
will enter upon on his return, at the end of the month, to 
Africa. And let me add, that he will have our best wishes 
for the preservation of his health, and that he may be spared 
to return to us, and to increase his reputation by enlarging 
still more the boundaries of our ethnological knowledge of 
West Africa. 

We may also expect additions to our African ethnology 
from Dr Overweg's expedition. 

" A Manual of Geographical Science. By the Rev. C G. 
Nicolay.'' The several articles of this manual are written 
by various authors. The article Physical Geography is 
written by Professor Ansted. The section on the distribu- 
tion of animals in space and time occupies 48 pages ; that on 
Ethnology occupies 25 pages ; so that a very fair proportion 
of space is allotted to our science. But in so small a space 
there can only be a sketch of the subject. The sketch is a 
compilation, chiefly from the works of Dr Pri chard and 
Colonel Hamilton Smith ; and, as might be expected, the 
sketch is more a description of the geographical distribution 
of the human family than a manual of Ethnology. 

Our science has been advanced, and most valuable mate- 
rials have been collected for others to advance it, by the 
Bible and the several Missionary Societies. The philolo- 
gical and other knowledge which those societies have collected 
together to further the high and noble objects which they 
have in view, has also been of incalculable value in advan- 
cing ethnological science. I need not enumerate the many 
unwritten languages which the missionaries have been the 
first to study and reduce to writing. Nor is it necessary to 
enlarge upon the great patience and ability which is required 
so to acquire, and afterwards to write ; for the works them- 
selves speak louder than any praise of mine. The labours 

76 Richard Cull, Esq., on the 

of the missionaries have greatly contributed to advance the 
bounds of our knowledge in both glossology and grammar. 

Colonel Rawlinson has read another memoir to the Royal 
Asiatic Society, on the Babylonian and Assyrian Inscriptions, 
part of which, occupying about 150 pages, has recently been 
published in the Journal of that Society. The memoir is 
upon the Babylonian translation of the Great Behistun In- 
scription. The memoir consists of — 1st, The text and an 
analysis of the Babylonian inscription at Behistun ; 2d, An 
indiscriminate list of Babylonian and Assyrian characters ; 
and, 3d, On the Babylonian alphabet, of which we have only 
the beginning now published. 

It can be shewn, beyond all doubt, that a very large pro- 
portion of the Assyrian signs, i. e., the arrow-headed charac- 
ters are polyphones. " But although I can thus shew the 
probable reason of the employment of cuneatic polyphones — 
although I can explain the fact of the character ^<, the 
ideograph for a ' country,' being invested with such discre- 
pant phonetic values as mat and kur, by referring to the 
Semitic synonyms DD in Chaldee, and s . f in Arab, (cog- 
nate with %w£«), — the practical inconvenience of such a 
variableness of power is excessive. The meaning, for in- 
stance, of an Assyrian or Babylonian word may be ascer- 
tained determinately, either from the key of the trilingual 
inscriptions, or from its occurring in a great variety of pas- 
sages with only one signification that is generally applicable ; 
but unless its correspondent can be recognised in some 
Semitic tongue, it is often impossible, owing to the employ- 
ment in it of a polyphone character, to fix its orthography. 
In the multitudinous inscriptions, again, of Nimroud, of 
Khursabad, of Koyunjik, and of Babylon, of which (although 
their general application can be detected without much diffi- 
culty) the details require for their elaboration a minute phi- 
lological analysis, this orthographical uncertainty presses on 
the student with almost crushing severity. On the one side, 
in working out his readings, he can only employ philological 
aid, — that is, he can only compare Hebrew or Chaldee cor- 
respondents, after being assured of the true sound of the 
Assyrian and Babylonian word ; while on the other, he must 

Recent Progress of Ethnology. 77 

depend on his acquaintance with Semitic vocables to fix the 
fluctuating cuneiform powers." 

The recovery of a long-lost language like the Babylonian 
is, of itself, a matter of deep interest, but the consequences 
of that recovery, in enabling us to read the numerous in- 
scriptions containing ancient records of Babylonian history, 
and enabling us also to trace the philological relationships 
of that language, are consequences of great interest and 
value to us as ethnologists. It appears that the Babylonian 
is a Semitic language, and that Biblical Hebrew and Chaldee 
are the two languages greatly used by Col. Rawlinson to 
illustrate it. I take this opportunity to refer you to a re- 
markable passage in the Divinity Lectures of the Rev. W. 
Digby, Dean of Clonfert. I quote from a copy printed in 
Dublin in 1787. In Lecture V. the Dean is engaged in 
shewing that the confusion at Babel was not of language in 
its ordinary sense, but about religion. 

" That the whole earth was of one religion, and that the 
true one, immediately after the flood ; when but eight per- 
sons were left alive, is not to be disputed. That there was 
also but one language then spoken ; and that a variety of 
languages did not immediately take place upon the confu- 
sion at Babel, but was the slow, gradual, and natural effect 
of the dispersion, is fairly to be collected from the book of 
Scripture. Nay, more, that but one language was spoken 
for several ages after, will, I think, appear from the follow- 
ing circumstances. 

" It is allowed on all hands, that Canaan, the son of Ham, 
spoke the same language with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 
It appears further, that Nimrod, who was grandson to Ham, 
spake the same language with Asher, the son of Shem : the 
former in Babylon, the latter at Nineveh.'' 

The Dean carries on his argument to shew that one lan- 
guage only was spoken up to the time that Joseph was 
carried into Egypt. And he argues that this universal 
language was the Mosaic Hebrew. I have quoted the Dean 
not to follow his argument in detail, upon which, on the 
present occasion, I pass no opinion, but to shew that some 
ground exists why we, as modern philologists, might have 

78 Richard Cull, Esq., on the 

been justified in assuming, a priori, that should the Baby- 
lonian language be recovered, it would be found to be cog- 
nate with the Mosaic Hebrew. 

It was proposed some years ago to appoint a distinct Sec- 
tion for the cultivation of Ethnology in the British Associa- 
tion for the Advancement of Science. The proposal was 
negatived by the committee of the Association. It was, how- 
ever, felt, that Ethnology is worthier than to occupy a mere 
subordinate place in the section of Natural History. It has 
accordingly been removed from that section, and now is 
united with Geography, which has been removed from Geo- 
logy, and they together form one section. If by such a union 
Ethnology were to be degraded into the science of the geo- 
graphical distribution of the human race, I should never 
cease to raise my voice against its union. At the Ipswich 
meeting last July, Section E, for the cultivation of Geography 
and Ethnology, met for the first time, and you were duly in- 
formed of the results of that meeting at the opening of the 

I have now rapidly glanced at the progress of Ethnology 
during the past year. In relation to the whole science, that 
progress is fragmentary, but so is the annual progress of 
every other science. One of the chief uses of reviewing our 
progress is to draw attention to what is well known, less 
known, and unknown ; for our knowledge and ignorance are 
so blended as to make a chaos. And, in reviewing our posi- 
tion, it would be well to draw up special reports in order to 
affix the boundaries of our knowledge, so as to exhibit in its 
full magnitude our ethnological ignorance, both in relation 
to space and time. 

Common experience in the progress of knowledge shews, 
that in proportion as the number of students of a science in- 
crease, so does a larger number of persons become interested 
in the advancement of that science, and we find it advance. 
The history of Mathematics, of the Physical Sciences, of Che- 
mistry, of Geology, of Geography, and other sciences, all con- 
cur in shewing that a rapid advancement of the science, both 
by extension of knowledge, and a fuller comprehension of the 
laws of nature, invariably follows a wider diffusion of what 

Recent Progress of Ethnology. 79 

is already known. Such being a law of relation between the 
advancement and the diffusion of knowledge, I take the liberty 
of asking you to aid us in advancing Ethnology by diffusing 
as widely as possible a knowledge of it amongst your friends, 
and thus to awaken in them an interest in our pursuit. In 
this way, however small our knowledge may be, and however 
unable immediately to enter upon original researches our- 
selves, we may still indirectly conduce to the advancement of 
our science. And let us not hesitate to pursue our inquiries, 
lest they should land us in scepticism ; for that which refuses 
to investigate in case of such a result, is a scepticism of the 
worst kind ; for it is a scepticism whose assumption is, that 
the words of God are at variance with His works ; and will, 
therefore, continually place Religion and Science in antagon- 
ism. Let us remember, in the beautiful language of Spur- 
zheim, that " genuine philosophy and genuine religion are 
very nearly akin. The one explores the elder volume of 
nature — the other investigates the later volume of Divine 
revelation. Both unite in their practical results ; both pro- 
mote the present improvement of man ; both conduce to his 
ultimate felicity." 

Chemical Report to the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council 
for Trade , on the cause of Fire in the Ship Amazon. By 
Professor Graham. 

My Lords, — In reply to the questions arising out of the disas- 
trous loss of the Amazon by fire, which are proposed to me for a 
chemical opinion, I beg to submit to your Lordships the following 
statements and conclusions. 

The practice of mixing together the various stores of the engineer, 
consisting of oils, tallow, soft-soap, turpentine, cotton-waste, and tow, 
and placing them in heated store-rooms contiguous to the boilers, 
must be looked upon as dangerous in no ordinary degree, for several 
reasons. Although oil in bulk is not easily ignited, particularly when 
preserved in iron tanks, still, when spilt upon wood or imbibed by 
tow and cotton-waste, which expose much surface to air, the oil often 
oxidates and heats spontaneously, and is allowed to be one of the 
most frequent causes of accidental fires. The vegetable and drying 
oils used by painters, are most liable to spontaneous ignition, but no 
kind of animal or vegetable oil or grease appears to be exempted from 

80 Professor Graham's Chemical Report on the 

it ; and instances could be given of olive-oil igniting upon sawdust ; 
of greasy rags from butter, heaped together, taking fire within a 
period of twenty-four hours ; of the spontaneous combustion of tape- 
measures, which are covered with an oil varnish, when heaped to- 
gether, and even of an oil-skin umbrella put aside in a damp state. 
The ignition of such materials has been often observed to be greatly 
favoured by a slight warmth, such as the heat of the sun. I am 
also informed by Mr Braidwood, that the great proportion of fires at 
railway stations have originated in the lamp-store, and that in coach- 
works also, when the fire can be traced, it is most frequently to the 
painter's department, the fire having arisen spontaneously from the 
ignition of oily matters. Lamp-black and ground charcoal are still 
more inflammable, when the smallest quantity of oil obtains access 
to them, and should not be admitted at all among ship's stores. 

The stowing metallic cans or stoneware jars of either oil or tur- 
pentine in a warm place, is also attended with a danger which is less 
obvious, namely, the starting of the corks of the vessels, or the actual 
bursting of them by the great expansion of the liquid oil, which is 
caused by heat. These liquids expand in volume so much as one 
upon thirty, by a rise of not more than 60° of temperature, or by 
such a change as from the ordinary low temperature of 40° to a blood 
heat ; the latter temperature may easily be exceeded in an engine- 
room. It is remarkable that the burning a few years ago of a large 
steamer on the American lakes, which even surpassed in its fatality 
the loss of the Amazon, was occasioned by the bursting, in the man- 
ner described, of a jar of turpentine placed upon deck too close to the 
funnel, by a party of journeymen painters who were passengers. 
This steamer was also on her first voyage, and being newly varnish- 
ed, the flames spread over her bulwarks and extended the whole 
length of the vessel in a few minutes. 

The bulk-heads of coal-holds appear to admit of obtaining con- 
siderable security from fire by being constructed double where close 
to the boiler, with a sheet of air between the two partitions. The 
tendency of coals to spontaneous ignition is increased by a moderate 
heat, such as that of the engine-room, from which they would be pro- 
tected by the double partition. I have obtained instances where 
coals took fire in a factory, on two different occasions, by being heap- 
ed for a length of time against a heated wall, of which the tempera- 
ture could be supported by the hand ; also of coals igniting after some 
days upon stone flags covering a flue, of which the temperature was 
not known to rise above 150°, and of coals shewing indications of 
taking fire by being thrown in bulk over a steam-pipe. These were 
Lancashire coals, which are highly sulphureous ; but the same ac- 
cident occurred with Wallsend coals, at the Chartered East Com- 
pany's Works in London, where the coals were twice ignited through 
a two-feet brick wall, of which the temperature was believed by Mr 
Croll not to exceed 120° or 140 c . 

Cause of Fire in the Ship Amazon. 81 

The surface of deal in the partition opposed to the boiler, would 
probably be better protected from fire by impregnating the wood with 
a saline solution, which diminishes combustibility, such as the zinc 
solution of Sir W. Burnett, rather than by coating the wood on the 
side next the boiler with sheet iron. Indeed, this use of iron ap- 
pears to introduce a new danger. The iron being a good conductor 
of heat, the wood below is heated nearly as much as if uncovered, 
and wood in contact with iron appears to be brought by repeated 
heating to an extraordinary degree of combustibility, and to become 
peculiarly liable to spontaneous ignition. 

Mr Braidwood, who has been led to that conclusion, gave an in- 
stance of wood covered by sheet-iron igniting spontaneously in a 
wadding manufactory. The numerous occasions, also, on which 
wood and paper have been ignited by Perkins' heated water-pipes, 
equally exemplifying the dangerous consequences which may arise 
from moderately heated iron, in long contact with combustible 

The most obvious precautions for guarding against the sponta- 
neous ignition of coal stowed in ship's bunkers, appear to be the taking 
the coal on board in as dry a condition as possible, and the turning it 
over, if there be room for doing so, as soon as the first symptom of 
heating is perceived. An obnoxious vapour is described as always 
preceding the breaking out of the fire, and affords warning of the 
danger. The ignition of Newcastle coals in store, is not an unfre- 
quent occurrence at the London gas-works. It appears always to 
begin at a single spot, and is met by cutting down upon and remov- 
ing at once the heated coals. Long iron rods are placed upright in 
the coal heap, which can be pulled out, and indicate by their warmth 
the exact situation of the fire. Steam can be of little avail for ex- 
tinguishing the fire among coals in bulk ; and water, although it may 
extinguish the fire for the time, is too apt to induce a recurrence of 
the evil. 

For extinguishing a fire occurring in berths or cabins in the im- 
mediate vicinity of the boiler and engine-room, steam might be more 
advantageously applied, means of turning on the steam being pro- 
vided upon the upper deck, or other distant place of safety. Steam, 
however, can only be said to be efficient in extinguishing flame, or 
a blaze from light objects, and is not to be relied upon beyond an 
early stage of a fire. Upon a mass of red-hot cinders the extinguish- 
ing effect of steam is insensible. 

An essential condition of applying steam with success to the ex- 
tinction of a fire in the engine-room, would be to prevent the rapid 
ingress and circulation of air at the same time, which is occasioned 
by the draught of the fires. This could only be done completely by 
valving the chimneys ; for the quantity of heated air passing off by 
the funnels, greatly exceeds in volume the steam produced by the 
boilers in the same time, and would rapidly convey away the steam 

VOL. LIII. NO. CV. — JULY 1852. P 

82 Professor Graham's Report on the 

thrown into the atmosphere of the engine-room, and prevent any 
possible advantage from it. 

The fire in the " Amazon" appeared to the witnesses to take its 
rise either in the small oil store-room situated over the boiler, or in 
a narrow space of from three to eleven inches in width between a 
bulk-head and the side of the boiler, immediately under the same 
store-room. No substance remarkable for spontaneous ignition, 
such as oiled cotton-waste, was actually observed in the store-room 
or the space referred to. The wood itself of the bulk-head, which 
was within a few inches of the boiler, may have been highly dried 
and sensibly heated by its proximity to the latter, but is not likely 
to have acquired any tendency to spontaneous ignition; for when 
that property results from low heating, it is an effect of time, re- 
quiring weeks or months to develop it. The same observation ap- 
plies to the decks in contact with the steam-chest, which encased 
the base of the funnel. 

Nor does it appear probable, that the coals in the coal-hold of the 
vessel gave occasion to the fire by heating of themselves, and then 
burning through the wooden partition of the oil-store, with which they 
were in contact. 

The coals were from Wales, and are not remarkable for this pro- 
perty. They are also said to have been shipped in a dry and dusty 
state, and not damp, a month or two previously. 

Their ignition would also have been preceded by the strong odour 
before referred to, which does not appear to have been remarked, 
although the coal-hold communicated directly with the boiler-room. 

Oil was seen to drop from the floor of the store-room upon the 
top of the boiler, but not in greater quantity than might be acci- 
dentally spilt in drawing the oil from the tank for the use of the 

A parcel of twenty-five newly -tarred coal-sacks, which had been 
thrown upon the boiler, also obtained, it is supposed, some of the 
same oil. This oil appears to be the matter most liable to the pos- 
sibility of spontaneous ignition, which was noticed near the spot 
where the fire commenced. 

But the sudden and powerful burst of flame from the store-room, 
which occurred at the very outset of the conflagration, suggests 
strongly the intervention of a volatile combustible, such as turpen- 
tine, although the presence of a tin can of that substance in the 
store-room appears to be left uncertain. It was stated to be there 
by two witnesses, but its presence is denied by a third witness. I 
find, upon trial, that the vapour given off by oil of turpentine is 
sufficiently dense at a temperature somewhat below 110° to make 
air explosive upon the approach of a light. Any escape of turpentine 
from the heated store-room would therefore endanger a spread of 
flame, by the vapour communicating with the lamps burning at the 
time in the boiler-room, or even with the fire of the furnaces. 

('a use of Fire in the Ship Amazon. 83 

The fire appears not to have begun in the tarred sacks lying upon 
the boiler ; although, from their position, which was close to the 
store-room, they must have been very early involved in the confla- 
gration, and contributed materially to its intensity. The sacks 
appear to have been charged each with about two pounds of tar, 
thus furnishing together fifty pounds of that substance, in a condi- 
tion the most favourable that can be imagined for rapid combustion. 
The freshness of the tar, and its high temperature would make it 
ignite by the least spark of flame, although not prone to spontaneous 
ignition. The burning of a group of newly-tarred cottages in Dept- 
ford, which came under the notice of Mr Braidwood, arose from their 
being set on fire by lightning, while the sun was shining upon them, 
and the tar liquified by the heat. 

The origin of the fire must remain, I believe, a subject of specu- 
lation and conjecture ; but the extreme intensity, and fearfully rapid 
spread of the combustion, are circumstances of scarcely inferior in- 
terest, which are not involved in the same obscurity. 

The timber of the bulkheads and decks near the engine-room is 
reported to have been of Dantzic red wood, or Riga pine, and such 
was the character of a portion of the Amazon's timber which was 
supplied to me for chemical examination. The wood has had its 
temperature drawn off, and differs in that respect from pitch pine. 
The Dantzic red wood is, in consequence, less combustible than pitch 
pine, but more porous and spongy. Oil paint is absorbed, and dries 
more quickly upon this porous wood than upon oak and other dense 
woods. After the paint is well dried, pine and other woods cer- 
tainly acquire from it some protection from the action of feeble and 
transient flames, which might kindle the naked wood. But the 
effect of paint — especially of fresh paint — appears to be quite the 
reverse when the wood is exposed to a strong, although merely 
passing, burst of flame. The paint melts, and emits an oily vapour 
which nourishes the flame, and soon fixes it upon the wood. There 
can be no doubt, therefore, that the timber of the Amazon was in a 
more inflammable state than ship-timber usually is, from being 
recently painted, and also, probably, from its newness and compara- 
tive dryness. 

But the circumstance which appears above all others to give a 
character to the fire in the Amazon was its occurrence, not in a 
close hold or cabin, but in a compartment of the vessel where a 
vigorous circulation of air is maintained by the action of the boiler- 
fires and their chimneys. The air of the engine-room must be 
renewed, under this influence, every few minutes, and would be so 
although full of flames rising above deck through the hatchways ; 
for a portion of these flames would always escape by the funnels, and 
add to their aspirating power instead of diminishing it. The com- 
bustion of bulkheads or decks, once commenced in this situation, 
would therefore be fanned into activity, and powerfully supported. 


84 Mr Sharpe on the Foliation and Cleavage of 

The destruction of the floor of the oil store-room, and the over- 
turning, in consequence, of the oil-tanks and combustibles into the 
well of the boiler-room, was probably the crisis of the fire. A mass 
of combustible vapour would speedily be generated, and shot about 
on all sides, of which the kindling power upon the new and painted 
timber of the bulkheads and decks would be wholly irresistible. 

The burning of the Amazon impresses most emphatically the 
dangerous and uncontrollable character of a fire arising in the engine 
or boiler-room, where the combustion is animated by a steady and 
powerful circulation of air, and the danger of collecting combustible 
matter together in such a place. The removal of the oil stores to a 
safer locality is, fortunately, generally practicable, and is the measure 
best calculated to prevent the recurrence of any similar catastrophe. 
I have the honour to remain, Sir, &c. 

Thos. Graham. 

To the Lords of the Committee of 
Privy Council for Trade. 

— The Quarterly Journal of the Chemical Society, No. xvii., 
p. 34. 

On the Foliation and Cleavage of Bocks of the North of Scot- 
land. By Daniel Sharpe, Esq., F.R.S., V.P.S.G. 

Mr Sharpe, in a paper read to the Royal Society of Lon- 
don on the 15th January 1852, applies the term, cleavage or 
lamination, to the divisional planes by which stratified rocks 
are split into parallel sheets, independently of the stratifica- 
tion ; foliation, to the division of crystalline rocks into layers 
of different mineral substances ; slate, to stratified rocks in- 
tersected by cleavage ; and schist, to foliated rocks only 
which exhibit no bedding, independent of the foliation. 

He considers that no distinct line can be drawn between 
gneiss and mica schist, chlorite schist, &c, which pass from 
one into the other by insensible gradations ; have the same 
geological relations, and foliation subject to the same laws. 
He states that their boundaries have been laid down arbi- 
trarily on the published maps of Scotland. The quartz rock 
of MacCulloch includes two formations ; the one a quartzose 
variety of gneiss, included in this paper under that head ; 
the other, a stratified sandstone altered by plutonic action. 

The author treats the foliation of gneiss and schist as a 

Hacks of the North of Scotland. 85 

series of simple curves, obtained by observing the general 
direction, and disregarding the minor and more complicated 
folds. The convolutions are usually greatest where the dip 
is slightest, but where the foliation is vertical, or nearly so, 
it usually follows true planes without contortion ; thus the 
most correct observations are those taken where the foliation 
is vertical. 

When the foliation of gneiss and schist is traced over ex- 
tensive areas, and the minor convolutions disregarded, it is 
usually found to form arches of great length, and many miles 
in diameter, bounded by vertical planes, between which the 
inclination increases with the distance from the axis. Each 
arch is succeeded by a narrow space, in which the dip is irre- 
gular, and beyond which another arch commences of a form 
similar to the first. Portions of two adjoining arches seen 
without the rest form the fan-like structure observed by seve- 
ral geologists. The arrangement of the foliation in arches 
corresponds with that of the cleavage of the true slates pre- 
viously described by the author, except in the greater convo- 
lution of the gneiss and schist. 

Along the southern border of the Highlands, a band of 
stratified clay-slate rests on mica schist ; at the junction, the 
foliation of the schist conforms to the cleavage of the slate, 
and the two together form an arch, but there is no connec- 
tion between the stratification of the slate and the foliation ; 
moreover, the divisional planes cross from one rock to the 
other, without change of direction, being planes of foliation 
in the mica schist, and of cleavage in the slate ; these facts 
confirm Mr Darwin's opinion, that cleavage and foliation are 
due to the same cause. 

The author describes the parallel arches of foliation which 
cross the Highlands, illustrating his description by sections 
and a map, on which they are laid down, and tracing in 
detail the vertical planes which bound the arches. Com- 
mencing on the south, the first vertical plane runs about four 
miles within the Highland border, with a mean direction of 
about N. 55° E. : it crosses more than once the junction of 
the clay slate and mica schist. South of this plane the 
cleavage of the slate forms the beginning of an arch, which 

86 Mr Sharpe on the Foliation and Cleavage of 

ends abruptly at the junction of the slate with the old red 

To the north of this vertical plane four arches run across 
the Highlands ; the most southern of these, with a diameter 
of ten or twelve miles, is formed partly of the cleavage of the 
slate, and partly of the foliation of the mica schist. The 
hills on the south side of Loch Tay coincide with its central 
axis. The vertical plane which forms its northern boundary 
crosses Ben Lawers, and has a mean direction of N. 50° E. 
The next arch northward, consisting principally of gneiss, has 
a diameter varying from twenty-five to thirty miles ; its axis 
runs for some distance along the central ridge of the Gram- 
pians. The granite of Cruachan and Ben-Muich-Dhui inter- 
feres with the regularity of the foliation of this district, and 
the lines are thrown to the north by the granite of Aberdeen- 
shire ; the line which bounds this arch on the north crosses 
the Spey near Laggan, and runs N. 40° E. through Corbine 
into the Monagh Leagh mountains. To the north of that 
line, the foliation of the gneiss forms an arch only ten miles 
wide, bounded on the north by a vertical plane running N. 
35° E., which crosses Coryaraiek. This plane forms the south- 
ern boundary of an arch, varying from fifteen to twenty-five 
miles wide, entirely of gneiss, bounded on the north by a band 
of vertical foliation which runs about N. 30° E., from Glen 
Finnan through the middle of Ross-shire, and across Ben 
Nevis. To the north-west of this band there is half an arch 
in the foliation, varying from twenty to thirty miles wide, 
which ends abruptly at a line to be drawn from Loch Eribol 
and Loch Maree, on the west of which the gneiss is uncon- 
formable to that hitherto described, but agrees with that of 
the island of the Lewis, forming a series of arches which run 
about NW. 

From the want of parallelism in the lines of foliation of the 
Highlands, they would all nearly converge between Lough 
Foyle and Lough S willy among the mica schists of the north 
of Ireland. 

The most rugged and elevated hills are usually on or near 
the lines of vertical foliation ; the axis of the arches are ge- 
nerally found in high land, and the principal valleys occur 
between the central axis of the arches and their vertical 

Bocks of the North of Scotland. 87 

boundaries. Thus the main physical features of the High- 
lands are connected with the foliation of the gneiss and schists; 
but the granites and porphyries which have broken through 
those rocks, and disturbed the regularity of the foliation, have 
also greatly modified the surface of the country. 

The contortions of gneiss and schists being unaccompanied 
by fracture, must, the author considers, have been produced 
when the matter of those rocks was semifluid ; in this state 
the mineral ingredients appear to have separated and re-ar- 
ranged themselves in layers according to their affinities, while 
the whole was subjected to pressure acting along certain axes 
of elevation, which raised those layers into arches. 

On the Structure of the Iguanodon, and on the Fauna and 
Flora of the IVealden Formation. By G. A. MANTELL, 
Esq. LL.D., F.RS.* 

The geological phenomena of the south-east of England, compris- 
ing the lithological characters and organic remains of the Diluvial, 
Tertiary, Cretaceous, Wealden, and Oolitic deposits, were described 
in two Lectures delivered to the Members of the Royal Institution by 
Dr Mantell in 1836 and 1849. In those discourses the fauna and 
flora of the Wealden were cursorily noticed, and the Iguanodon and 
other gigantic terrestrial reptiles, whose fossil remains have invested 
the strata of Tilgate Forest with a high degree of interest, were briefly 
alluded to. The present lecture was restricted to a consideration 
of the fauna and flora of the countries whence the deposits consti- 
tuting the Wealden districts were derived ; and the osteological 
characters of the most remarkable fossil Saurians peculiar to this 
geological epoch were especially illustrated. 

After a concise exposition of the characters of the various forma- 
tions which have succeeded, and now overlie, or, in other words, are 
of more recent origin than the Wealden — namely, the Drifts or 
Diluvium, containing bones of large mammalia, as the mammoth, 
mastodon, rhinoceros, horse, deer, &c. ; — the Eocene, or ancient 
tertiary strata of the London basin, abounding in marine exuviae of 
special and for the most part extinct types ; — and the Cretaceous or 
chalk-formation, comprising the white chalk of the North and South 
Downs, and the chalk-marl, gait, and greensand of Surrey, Kent, 
and Sussex, the whole characterised by innumerable marine shells, 
zoophytes, fishes, reptiles, &c. of extinct species and genera; — Dr 

* Read in the Royal Institution on March 5, 1852. 

88 Dv Mantell on the Structure of the lyuanodon, 

Mantell proceeded to illustrate the structure of the Iguanodon as 
exemplified by the isolated parts of the skeleton hitherto discovered, 
and of which numerous examples were exhibited on the tables of 
the Institution. 

The perfect germ, and the unused tooth, of the Iguanodon, are 
characterised by the prismatic form of the crown, which is traversed 
on the thick enamelled face by three or four longitudinal ridges, and 
has the lateral margins denticulated, and the summit finely crenated ; 
in this state the teeth resemble those of the living Iguana of the 
West Indies — a resemblance which suggested the generic name of 
Iguanodon. But the fossil teeth are of enormous size in comparison 
with their recent prototypes ; for the teeth of the Iguana are as 
small as those of the mouse, while those of the Iguanodon are often 
one inch wide, and three inches in length. Specimens exhibiting 
the above characters are, however, rare ; the summit of the crown 
is usually more or less worn away by use, and the fang removed by 
absorption from the pressure induced by the upward growth of the 
successional teeth. In the first example discovered by Dr Mantell 
(in 1820), the crown was ground down so as to present on its inner 
face a smooth oblique surface with a cutting edge on the summit, 
and the marginal crenations were worn away. In this state the 
fossil so strikingly resembled an upper tooth of a rhinoceros, that 
Baron Cuvier pronounced it to belong to a species of that genus. 
Numerous teeth in different stages of growth and detrition were at 
length obtained, and the reptilian character of the animal to which 
they belonged was satisfactorily determined. Three years since, 
the first specimen of the lower jaw was discovered by Captain Lam- 
bart Brickenden, in the same quarry in Tilgate Forest from which 
the earliest known tooth was obtained ; and subsequently a portion 
of the upper jaw with teeth has been procured from the Hastings 

Referring to his various memoirs on the Iguanodon in the Philo- 
sophical Transactions, and to his recent work on the Organic Re- 
mains in the British Museum,* for details, the lecturer stated, that 
while the compound structure of the lower jaw, and the mode of 
dentition, established the reptilian character of the original animal, 
the maxillary organs presented a nearer approach to those of certain 
mammalia, than is observable in any other reptiles. The teeth in 
the upper and lower jaw were arranged in a sub-alternate order as 
in ruminants ; the face of the crown, or that having the thickest 
coat of enamel, is placed mesially or on the inner side of the lower 
teeth, and on the external surface of the upper. The anterior part 
of the lower jaw is edentulous, and its symphisial extremity forms 

* " Petrifactions and their Teachings, or a Hand-book to the Gallery of 
Organic Remains in the British Museum/' one vol. 1851, published by H, Gr. 

and on the Fauna and Flora of the Wealden Formation. 89 

a scoop-like process, which resembles the corresponding part of the 
inferior jaw of the Edentate mammalia, as for example the Mylo- 
dons : and the great number and size of the vascular foramina of 
the jaw indicate a greater development of the lips and integuments 
than occurs in any existing animals of the class Reptilia ; the sharp 
ridge bordering the deep groove of the symphysis, in which there 
are likewise several foramina for the exit of nerves and bloodvessels, 
evidently gave attachment to the muscles and integuments of the 
lip ; while two deep pits for the insertion of the protractor muscles 
of the tongue, manifest the mobility and power of that organ. 
There are, therefore, strong reasons for supposing that the lips in 
the Tguanodon were flexible, and, in conjunction with the long, fleshy, 
prehensile tongue, were the chief instruments for seizing and crop- 
ping the leaves, branches, and fruit, which, from the construction 
of the teeth, we may infer constituted the food of the original. The 
mechanism of the maxillary organs, as elucidated by recent disco- 
veries, is thus in perfect harmony with the remarkable characters 
which rendered the first known teeth so enigmatical ; and in the 
Wealden herbivorous reptile we have a solution of the problem, how 
the integrity of the type of organisation peculiar to the class of 
cold-blooded vertebrata was maintained, and yet adapted, by simple 
modifications, to fulfil the conditions required by the economy of a 
gigantic terrestrial reptile, destined to obtain support from vegetable 
substances ; in like manner as the extinct colossal herbivorous 
Edentata, which flourished in South America, countless ages after 
the country of the Iguanodon and its inhabitants had been swept 
from the face of the earth. 

The structure of the cervical, dorsal, and caudal vertebrae, of the 
ribs, the pectoral and pelvic arches, the sacrum formed of six anchy- 
losed vertebrae, the bones of the extremities, and certain dermal 
appendages, were successively described, and illustrated by drawings 
and specimens. From the facts adduced Dr Mantell infers that this 
stupendous reptile equalled in bulk the largest herbivorous mam- 
malia, and was as massive in its proportions ; for living exclusively 
on vegetables, the abdominal region must have been greatly de- 
veloped. Its limbs were of proportionate size and strength, to sup- 
port and move so enormous a carcass ; its length, as proved by re- 
cent discoveries, was of crocodilian proportions, for there is no doubt 
that the tail was very long ; and the largest Iguanodon may have 
attained a length of from fifty to sixty feet. 

The HylcEosaurus, Megalosaurus, and several other genera of 
reptiles were severally noticed, and reference made to the specimens 
in the British Museum. The Pelorosaurus was next described 
somewhat in detail, and the characters of the stupendous humerus, 
or arm-bone, (4£ feet long), scapula, clavicle, vertebrae, sacrum, and 
pelvis, were^pointed out, with a view of illustrating a most interest- 

90 Dr Mantell on the Structure of the Iguanodon, 

ing discovery made but a few days previously by S. H. Beckles, Esq. 
of St Leonard's. 

With much labour and skill, Mr Beckles had succeeded in extract- 
ing from a block of Wealden sandstone lying on the Sussex coast, 
and which was only visible at low water, the perfect radius and ulna 
(bones of the fore-arm), and humerus (arm-bone), of a gigantic rep- 
tile, which Dr Mantell pronounced to be a new species of Peloro- 
saurus, and proposed to name Pelorosaurus Becklesii. The generic 
identity and specific difference between this humerus and that of the 
Pel. Conybeari, which was placed beside it, were pointed out, and 
the remarkable modification of structure presented by the ulna was 
explained. The arm- bone of the P. Conybeari is 54 inches long, 
the corresponding bone of a Gavial or Gangetic Crocodile 18 feet 
long, in Dr Grant's Museum, is but 11^ inches ; the humerus dis- 
covered by Mr Beckles is 22^ inches in length, and the bones of 
the fore-arm are 16 inches long. A portion of the scaly cuirass 
which covered the limbs, and is composed of hexagonal plates, was 

The lecturer then took a rapid view of the other reptiles that 
were contemporary with the Iguanodon, enumerating the Pterodac- 
tyles or flying lizards, and several genera of Crocodilians and Che- 
lonians. Examples of marine and fresh-water turtles are not un- 
common in the Wealden deposits ; and the strata near Swanage 
have furnished many beautiful specimens to the researches of Mr 

Of Fishes there are nearly forty known species in the Wealden, 
which are chiefly referable to the Ganoid and Placoid orders. The 
fishes most abundant in the rivers of the Iguanodon country were 
two or three species of Lepidotus, — ganoids closely allied to the 
Bony or Gar-Pike of America ; their teeth and scales are every- 
where to be met with in the Tilgate strata. 

The Invertebrate Fauna comprised many genera of Insects, a 
few Crustaceans, and numerous fresh-water Mollusca. The Insects 
(for a knowledge of which we are mainly indebted to the scientific 
acumen of the Bev. P. Brodie) amount to several hundred speci- 
mens, comprising between thirty and forty families or genera, and 
are referable for the most part to the orders Coleoptera, Orthop- 
tera, Neuroptera, Hemiptera, and Biptera. Among them are 
several kinds of beetles, dragon-flies, crickets, May-flies, and other 
familiar forms which are closely allied to species that inhabit tempe- 
rate climates. 

Mollusca. — The most numerous shells belong to the genera Cy- 
clas and Paludina ; of the latter, which is a genus of fresh-water 
.snails, there are a few species that abound in the Wealden clays 
and Purbeck beds, and form extensive strata of shelly limestone, the 
compact masses of which are susceptible of a good polish, and are 

and on the Fauna and Flora of the Wealden Formation. 91 

well known by the names of Sussex, Petworth, and Purbeck Marble ; 
the latter was in great request in the mediaeval ages, and is the ma- 
terial of which numerous tombs and monuments, and cluster columns 
in our ancient Cathedrals are constructed. Two common inhabitants 
of our pools and streams, the Planorbis and Limneus, also occur. 
Several species of Unio, some of which rival in magnitude the pearl- 
mussels of the Ohio and Mississippi, likewise abound in the Wealden 
deposits. Fresh-water Entomostraceans, Cyprides, of several species, 
swarm in many of the clays and ironstone beds of Sussex and the 
Isle of Wight. 

The Flora of the country of the Iguanodon appears to have been 
as rich and diversified as the Fauna. Forests of Coniferce, refer- 
able or closely allied to Abies Finus, Araucaria, Cupressus, and 
Juniperus, clothed its hills and plains : with these were associated 
arborescent and herbaceous Ferns, comprising upwards of thirty 
species ; together with many Cycadeacece, and trees allied to the 
Dracaena, Yucca, &c. Equisetaceous and Lycopodiaceous plants 
also abounded ; and even the common inhabitants of our streams, 
the Charce, flourished in the rivulets of that marvellous region. 

As examples of the vegetation of the Wealden period, Dr Mantell 
described the petrified forest of Coniferse and Cycadese in the Isle of 
Portland : the accumulation of fossil firs and pines exposed on the 
southern shore of the Isle of Wight ; and the coal-field of Hanover, 
which entirely consists of the carbonized foliage, trunks, and branches, 
of coniferous trees, drifted from the country of the Iguanodon. 

The facts thus rapidly noticed prove that during the deposition of 
the Wealden, Oolitic, and Cretaceous strata, there existed an exten- 
sive island or continent, diversified by hills and valleys, and tra- 
versed by streams and rivers teeming with fishes, crustaceans, and 
mollusca, closely allied to types which at present inhabit the fresh 
water of temperate regions ; and that with these were associated 
fluviatile turtles, and crocodilian reptiles, whose living analogues are 
restricted to tropical climes. Colossal herbivorous and carnivorous 
saurians, differing essentially in structure from all known existing 
forms, were the principal inhabitants of the dry land ; and these, 
together with flying lizards, and possibly a few birds, and very small 
mammalia, constituted the vertebrate fauna of the country, or coun- 
tries, which supplied the materials of the Wealden strata, and of the 
fluvio-marine deposits which are intercalated with the purely oceanic 
beds of the oolite and chalk. 

Thus it appears, according to the present state of our knowledge, 
that the classes Mammalia and Aves, which constitute the essential 
features of the terrestrial zoology of most countries, were represent- 
ed through a period of incalculable duration solely by two genera of 
very diminutive mammals, and a few birds ; while the air, the land, 
and the waters, swarmed with peculiar reptilian forms, fitted for 
aerial, terrestrial, and aquatic existence. 

92 Lieutenant Maury on the Clouds and 

Admitting to the fullest extent the effect or causes that may be 
supposed to have occasioned the absence of mammalian remains in 
the secondary deposits, yet the immense preponderance of the rep- 
tile tribes is unquestionable. Some authors have attempted to 
account for this anomaly by assuming that antecedently to the 
Eocene period, our planet was not adapted for the existence of mam- 
malia, in consequence of its atmosphere being too impure to support 
higher types of animal organisation than the cold-blooded vertebrata. 
But the certainty that some forms of marsupial and placental mam- 
malia inhabited the countries of the Megalosaurus and Pterodactyle, 
— that birds in all probability existed with the Iguanodon, — and the 
fact that insects and mollusca, and trees and plants, which now in- 
habit regions abounding in birds and mammalia, flourished during 
the " Age of Reptiles,'' demonstrate that the physical conditions 
of the earth, and the constitution of the atmosphere and of the 
waters, differed in no essential respect from those which now prevail, 
and that the laws which govern the organic and inorganic kingdoms 
of nature have undergone no change. 

That the class Keptilia was developed during the periods embraced 
in this discourse, to an extent far beyond what has since taken place, 
appears to be indisputable ; nor can any satisfactory solution of the 
problem be offered from the data hitherto obtained. Future disco- 
veries may however shew that coeval with the country of the Iguano- 
don there were regions tenanted by birds and mammalia; and that 
the almost exclusively reptilian fauna of the lands whose zoological 
and botanical characters have formed the subject of this lecture, 
was but an exaggerated condition of that state of the animal kingdom 
which is exhibited by the present fauna of the Galapagos Islands.* 

On the Clouds and Equatorial Cloud Rings of the Earth.\ 
By Lieut. Maury, of the National Observatory. 

Sailors have opportunities of making observations on clouds, and 
the various phenomena accompanying them, which no other class 
enjoy. The sailor, bound in his ship to the southern hemisphere, 
enters the region of the north-east trade-winds, and frequently 
finds the sky mottled with clouds, but generally clear ; continuing 
his course south, he observes his thermometer to rise as he ap- 
proaches the equator, until entering the equatorial region, he finds 
the weather to become murky, close, and oppressive. He then 
enters the south-east trades ; and on looking at his log-book, he is 

* See " Wonders of Geology. " Sixth Edition, p. 893. 

t The ahove is an abstract of a paper read at the meeting of Die American 
Association, Albany, by Lieutenant Maury. 

Equatorial Cloud-Rings of the Earth. 93 

surprised to find that, notwithstanding the oppressive weather of the 
rainy latitudes, both his barometer and thermometer stood lower in 
them than in the clear weather on either side of them. In pass- 
ing that rainy latitude, he has passed a cloud-ring which encircles 
the earth. 

Lieutenant Maury then proceeds to give a description of the va- 
rious changes which this great equatorial cloud-ring undergoes, and 
of its effects on the climate over which it hangs, the laws which con- 
trol its shifting, sometimes to the north and sometimes to the south 
of the equator, and the accessions it receives from the more tem- 
perate latitudes, while the ring itself is the great source of supply 
of moisture to the regions of the earth very distant from the 
equator. Thus this cloud-ring modifies the climate of all places 
beneath it ; overshadowing at different seasons all parallels from 
5° south to 15° north. It may be asked, where do the va- 
pours come from which are condensed and poured into the sea as 
rain ? They come from the trade-wind regions under the cloud- 
ring, then rise up, and as they rise they expand, and as they expand 
they grow^cool and are condensed. There is, therefore, a ceaseless 
precipitation going on under the cloud-ring. Evaporation under it 
is suspended nearly the whole year round. This ring is formed by 
the meeting of the NE. and SE. trade-winds ; the vapours which 
each bring from northern and southern regions meet and ascend. 
Our knowledge of the laws of nature will tell us, therefore, that the 
atmosphere will be cooler under this ring than on either side of it, 
without consulting the thermometer. Were the clouds which over- 
hang this belt luminous, and could they be seen by an observer from 
one of the planets, these clouds would present an appearance not un- 
like the rings of Saturn. He would also observe that this ring had 
an apparent movement contrary to that of the earth ; for though it 
moves with the earth, the motion of the ring is relatively slower, and 
the earth slips from under it, giving the ring an apparent slow mo- 
tion from east to west. This ring would be unlike those of Saturn 
in another respect : its edges would appear very jagged, and rough, 
and uneven. 

Navigators are now learning to tell by the barometer when they 
have passed the cloud-ring. In the log-book of an American Captain 
in a voyage round the world, in 1850-51, recently forwarded to the 
National Observatory, I find the following remarks : — " I here pre-' 
diet," he says, before reaching the equator, " the barometer will re- 
main below 30 in, until we get without the influence of the rainy 
latitudes." After having crossed a belt of five or six degrees of lati- 
tude, within which such remarks are frequent, as " Warm and sul- 
try ;" " Heavy rains ;" " Very murky and close at times ;" " Quite 
oppressive,'' "Rain," &c ; — on the seventh day he remarks, " As- 
suming the settled weather of the trades, only requiring a rise of 
barometer to assure me of that fact." The day after, I find in his 

94 On Blackheath Pebble-bed, and on certain Phenomena 

column of remarks, " Fine weather, every appearance of trades — ba- 
rometer up." This remark is made the 5th March 1850, in 6° south 
lat. Had he passed this cloud-ring in August, he would probably 
have made the same observations in 6° north lat., indicating that he 
had passed from under the influence of this equatorial cloud-belt. 

It is thus we arrive at a new application of the barometer, which 
thus informs the navigator, when other means fail, when he leaves 
and when he enters the trade-winds. 

On the Blackheath Pebble-bed, and on certain Phenomena 
in the Geology of the Neighbourhood of London. By Sir 
Charles Lyell.* 

There are two kinds of flint-gravel used for making roads in the 
neighbourhood of London, both of them in certain places superficial, 
but which are of extremely different ages. The yellow gravel of 
Hyde Park and Kensington so often found covering the " London 
Clay" may be taken as an example of one kind ; that of Blackheath, 
of the other. The first of these is, comparatively speaking, of very 
moderate date, and consists of slightly rolled, and, for the most part, 
angular fragments, in which portions of the white opaque coating of 
the original chalk flint remain unremoved. The more ancient gravel 
consists of black and well-rounded pebbles, egg-shaped or spherical, 
of various sizes, exhibiting no vestige of the white coating of the ori- 
ginal flints, yet shewing by the fossil sponges and shells contained in 
them that they are derived from the Chalk. In the pits of Black- 
heath and the neighbourhood, where this old shingle attains at some 
points a thickness of 50 feet, small pieces of white chalk sometimes 
occur, though very rarely intermixed with the pebbles. If we meet 
with thoroughly rounded flints in the more modern, or angular 
gravel, it is because the latter has been in part derived from the de- 
nudation of the older bed. 

The researches of the Rev. H. M. De la Condamine have shewn 
that the sand and pebble -beds of Blackheath and Greenwich Park 
inclose in some of their numerous layers fresh-water shells of extinct 
species, such as Cyrena cuneiformis, &c, agreeing with fossils which 
characterise the Lower Eocene beds at Woolwich. At Lewisham 
the pebble-bed passes under the London Clay, and at Shooter's Hill 
this clay overlies it in great thickness. 

At New Charlton, in the suburbs of Woolwich, Mr De la Conda- 
mine discovered a few years ago a layer of sand in the midst of the 
pebble-bed, where numerous individuals of the Cyrena tellinella 
were seen standing endwise, with both their valves united, the pos- 
terior extremity of each shell being uppermost, as would happen if 
the molluscs had died in their natural position. Sir Charles Lyell 

* Read in Royal Institution of Great Britain, on April 1, 1852. 

in the Geology of the Neighbourhood of London. 95 

described a bank of sandy mud in the delta of the Alabama river at 
Mobile, on the borders of the Gulf of Mexico, where, in 1846, he 
had dug out, at low tide, specimens of a living species of Cyrena, 
and of a Gnatkadon, which were similarly placed, with their shells 
erect, a position which enables the animal to protrude its siphons 
upwards, and draw in water to lubricate its gills, and reject it when 
it has served the purposes of respiration. The water at Mobile is 
usually fresh, but sometimes brackish. Sir Charles examined lately 
the Woolwich beds with Mr Morris, and they verified Mr De la 
Condamine's observations, observing there several dozen specimens 
of the Cyrena tellinella in an erect position. From this circum- 
stance the lecturer infers, that a body of fresh or river water had 
been maintained permanently on that spot during the Eocene period, 
and the presence of rolled oysters in the associated pebbly layers, 
with other marine shells, mixed with species of Melanopsis, Melania, 
Cerithium and Neritiria, demonstrate that the sea occasionally invad- 
ed the same area. To an overflow of the pebbly sand in which the 
Cyrense lived by salt water, may probably be attributed the poisoning 
of the molluscs which left their shells uninjured on the spot where 
they had lived. 

The stratum called " the shell-bed," which contains at Greenwich, 
Woolwich, Upnor, near Rochester, and other places, a great mass of 
fresh water, brackish water, and marine shells, especially oysters, is 
observed everywhere to underlie the great pebble-bed. Its mode 
of occurrence implies the entrance of one or more rivers into the 
Eocene sea in this region. Other rivers draining adjoining lands 
are indicated by a similar assemblage of fluvio-marine fossils near 
Guildford and at Newhaven in Sussex. The vicinity of land to the 
south and west of Woolwich is shewn by the occurrence at New 
Cross, Camberwell, and Chelsea, of Paludina and Unio in strata 
evidently a prolongation of the Woolwich beds, and by fossil leaves 
of dicotyledonous trees and layers of lignite in some of those loca- 
lities. On the other hand, at the junction of the " London Clay, n 
and the subjacent " plastic clays and sands," when followed in an 
opposite or easterly direction towards Heme Bay and the Reculvers, 
ail signs of the fresh-water formation disappear, and the pebble-bed 
is reduced to a thin layer, often a foot or a few inches in thickness. 
The origin of this shingle may have been chiefly due to the action of 
waves on a sea-beach. Its accumulation in great force at certain 
points where fresh-water shells abound, seems to imply the entrance of 
rivers into the sea, which brought down some flints, and arrested the 
progress of others travelling as beach-pebbles along a coast-line, 
in a certain direction, determined by the prevailing currents and 
winds. The spreading of the pebble-bed over a wide area may 
be accounted for by supposing a gradual subsidence of land, and the 
continually shifting of the coast-lines upon which shingle accumulated. 
This same subsidence is required to explain the superposition of the 

96 On Biackheath Pebble-bed, and on certain Phenomena 

London Clay, a deep-sea deposit to the Biackheath or Woolwich beds 
which are of shallow water or littoral origin. One of the rivers of 
the Lower Eocene period swept into the sea at Kyson, near Wood- 
bridge in Suffolk, the bones of a monkey of the genus Macacus, of a 
marsupial quadruped allied to the opossum, of a Hyracotherium, 
and other mammalia, which have been determined by Professor Owen, 
and which throw light on the inhabitants of the land, at an era an- 
tecedent to the deposition of the London Clay. 

Sir C. Lyell then exhibited some sections, recently published by 
Mr Prestwich,* illustrative of the geology of the environs of London, 
and gave a rapid sketch of the successive Eocene groups from the 
London Clay and overlying Bagshot series, with its nummulites to 
the Barton and Hampshire fresh-water formations, with their fossil 
quadrupeds. He then alluded to the tertiary strata next in the 
ascending order which he had recently studied in Limburg, Belgium, 
which are not represented in England, and next to the Miocene 
faluns of Touraine and the Pliocene strata or crag of Suffolk, and 
lastly to the still more modern glacial period and the brick-earth 
of the valley of the Thames. The last-mentioned formation contains 
the bones of extinct quadrupeds mingled with shells of recent species, 
terrestrial and fluviatile. 

The numerous and important changes in the fauna of the globe, 
attested by these successive assemblages of extinct species, belonging 
to different tertiary eras, attest the vast lapse of ages which separate 
the time when the fresh-water beds of Woolwich and Biackheath were 
formed from the human period. But revolutions of another and no 
less striking kind have taken place contemporaneously in the physi- 
cal geography of the northern hemisphere, revolutions on so great a 
scale that the greater part of the present continents of Europe, Asia, 
Northern Africa, and North America, with which the geologists is 
best acquainted, have come into existence in the interval of time 
here alluded to. It may also be confidently affirmed that the colos- 
sal chain of the Alps is more modern than the tertiary shingle of 
Biackheath. There was deep sea at the period when the London 
Clay was forming, precisely in the area where the loftiest mountains 
of Europe now rise into the regions of perpetual snow. In proof of 
this the lecturer referred to the works of several modern geologists, 
especially to those of Sir Roderick Murchison, and to a lecture de- 
livered by Sir Roderick in the Royal Institution, to shew that the 
nummulitic formation which belongs to the Eocene period, and not 
to the very oldest part of that period, attains an elevation in some 
portions of the Swiss Alps of 8000 or even 10,000 feet, and enters 
into the structure and composition even of the central axis of the 
Alps, having been subject to the same movements and partaking of 

* Prestwich, Geological Enquiry respecting the Water-bearing Strata 
around London, &c. Van Voorst, 1851. 

in the (leology of the Neighbourhood of London. 97 

the same foldings and contortions as the underlying cretaceous and 
oolitic strata. 

Sir Charles Lyell next proceeded to shew that a great series of 
volcanic eruptions had occurred in Europe since the older Eocene 
strata of the neighbourhood of London were deposited. Not only 
Vesuvius and Somma, as well as Etna and the extinct volcanoes of 
Southern Sicily, but the trachytic and basaltic eruptions of the ex- 
tinct volcanoes of central France, are more modern than the London 
Clay. The evidence consists not only of the superposition of igneous 
rocks several thousand feet thick, to lacustrine strata of the middle 
and upper Eocene periods, but also to the absence in the pebble-beds 
constituting the base of the tertiary series of Auvergne, Cantal, and 
Velay of any pebbles of volcanic origin. 

The lecturer concluded by stating that the formation of every 
mountain-chain and every elevation and depression of land bears 
witness to internal changes at various depths in the earth's crust. 
The alteration has consisted sometimes of the expansion, and some- 
times of the contraction of rock, or of the semi-liquefaction or com- 
plete fusion of stony masses and their injection into rents of the 
fractured crust occasionally manifested by the escape of lava at the 
surface. Every permanent alteration therefore of level may be re- 
garded as the outward sign of much greater internal revolutions tak- 
ing place simultaneously far below. Even the precise nature of the 
changes in the texture of rocks produced by subterranean heat and 
other plutonic influences since the commencement of the Eocene 
period can be detected in a few spots, especially in the central axis 
of the Alps, where the disturbing agency had been intense. The 
table might be covered with specimens of gneiss, mica schist and quartz 
rock, once called primitive, and once supposed to be of a date ante- 
rior to the creation of living beings, which nevertheless were sedimen- 
tary strata of the Eocene period, which assumed their crystalline form 
after the flints of Blackheath were rolled into shingle, and even after 
the shells of the London Clay and the nummulites of the overlying 
Bagshot sands were in existence. 

Yet however remote may be the antiquity of the Blackheath 
pebble-bed, as demonstrated by the vast amount of subsequent change 
in physical geography, in the internal structure of the earth's crust, 
and in the revolutions in organic life since experienced, its origin is 
probably as widely separated from the era of the Chalk as from our 
own times. For the fossils of the Chalk differ as much from those 
of the oldest tertiary strata near London, as do the last from the 
organic beings of the present era. Nevertheless the white Chalk 
itself, with its hints, is considered by every geologist as the produc- 
tion of a modern era, when contrasted with the long series of ante- 
cedent rocks now known, each formed in succession when the globe 
was inhabited by peculiar assemblages of animals and plants long 
since extinct. 

VOL. MIL NO. CV. — JULY 1852. G 

( J8 On the Great Principles either Suggested 

On the Great Principles either Suggested or Worked out by 
the late celebrated Dr William Front, F.R.S., fyc. By Dr 
Daubeny, Professor of Botany, Oxford.* Communicated 
by the Author. 

In noticing the advances made to our knowledge of the 
functions of life, through the instrumentality of chemistry, 
as illustrated by a new discovery of Baron LiebigX of which 
he had given a short account, Dr Daubeny could not refrain 
from dwelling a little upon the scientific merits of an old and 
valued friend of his own, now deceased, who led the way in 
this path of research, and deserves to be commemorated, both 
for his important contributions to chemistry in general, and 
likewise for the light which his researches first cast upon many 
obscure processes of the animal economy. He alluded to Dr 
Prout, whose labours, however, in the cause of science, he 
would not take up the time of the Society by particularising, 
inasmuch as a pretty faithful and detailed abstract of his 
principal papers had already been given to the world in a late 
number of the Edinburgh Medical Journal. \ He would, how- 
ever, briefly allude to two qualities which eminently distin- 
guished his philosophical character, and which, by their happy 
combination, enabled him to render subservient to the unfold- 
ing of grand general truths those minute pathological inquiries 
which his profession prompted him to undertake, but every 
one of which, when once entered upon, was worked out by him 
with the patience and exactness of a philosophical problem. 

The first of these characteristics was that capacity for ac- 
curate observation, which, coupled as it was in him with the 
most conscientious regard to truth, inspired such a confidence 
in his published results, that their correctness has seldom 
been impugned by those who, with the lights of improved 
knowledge, have since followed in his footsteps. It is, indeed, 
the great boast of Liebig, that he has so improved the method 
of analysing organic bodies, that a young man of ordinary 

* Read before the Aahmolean Society of Oxford, February 3, 1852. 
t July 1851. 

or Worked out by the late Br Front. 99 

attainments can now, after a few months' training, complete 
an analysis, which may be appealed to with confidence, and 
received as the basis of further research ; whereas before, 
only adepts in chemistry were capable of bringing out results 
upon which any reliance could be placed. 

Yet the greater part of Dr Prout's analyses were made 
with an apparatus of his own, which, however ingenious it 
might be, was far more difficult to use, and required for its 
success many more precautions than that at present in the 
hands of chemists, and hence the precision to which he at- 
tained is the greater subject for commendation. Add to 
which, that these delicate investigations were carried on by 
him, unassisted, amid constant interruptions, at intervals 
snatched from the daily demands made upon his time by pro- 
fessional engagements. 

The second characteristic of his genius was that power of 
generalisation, that aptitude of combining into an harmonious 
whole, a number of isolated and independent facts, which led 
him to seize upon the remote consequences deducible from 
the results of his own observations, as well as those of others, 
and at the same time to shape his inquiries in such directions 
as might lead to the development of great principles in 
science. Thus, for instance, so far back as the year 1815, 
he published that remarkable paper, " On the relation be- 
tween the Specific Gravity of Bodies in their Gaseous State, 
and their Atomic Weights," in which he pointed out, within 
a few years after the promulgation of the Daltonian theory, 
that the atomic weights of all other bodies may be regarded 
as multiples of that of hydrogen, — a position which, after 
being disputed by Berzelius and other great authorities, came 
at length to be confirmed with respect to three of the most 
important elements — carbon, oxygen, and azote — by the re- 
searches of Dumas and others. 

Thus, at a later period, his delicate method of weighing 
the air enabled him to suggest a cause for the prevalence of 
the cholera then raging in London — namely, the addition of 
an ingredient to the ordinary constituents of the atmosphere, 
which increased the specific gravity of its lower strata over 
that locality. 


100 On the Great Principles either Suggested 

It may be mentioned, as a proof of that admirable caution 
which he evinced with regard to facts, even when tempted 
by the support they would have yielded to any of those in- 
genious speculations with which his mind was ever teeming, 
that although he was understood to have continued the me- 
teorological researches alluded to during the whole period of 
the visitation of the cholera in 1832, he delayed their publi- 
cation until they could be still further corroborated. Unfor- 
tunately, when the cholera broke out a second time, in 1848, 
his health was too much enfeebled to allow of his undertaking, 
in addition to a large medical practice, a similar course of 
laborious investigations, so as to satisfy his own scrupulous 
mind as to their truth. 

Dr Prout also suggested an explanation of the differences 
existing between those organic bodies, whose constituents 
had appeared identical, by the interference of infinitesimal 
portions of certain extraneous substances intermixed with 
their predominant ingredients ; and started the idea, which 
Liebig has followed up with so much success, that these 
latter may be of essential use, inasmuch as they render the 
body itself suitable to be assimilated by animals, owing to 
their counteracting in it those chemical affinities between its 
particles which would otherwise be too powerful for the 
antagonistic forces of life to surmount. 

Substances so constituted he called mer organised, and the 
introduction of these foreign matters he regarded as the 
cause of that new arrangement of their particles which im- 
parted to them properties altogether distinct from those 
which before characterised them. Thus, starch he regarded 
as merorganised sugar, and considered the latter body to be 
incapable of assimilation, until it had undergone an altera- 
tion of this kind within the body. 

Dr Prout also led the way towards the establishment of 
that beautiful classification of substances subservient to 
nutrition which Baron Liebig has lately brought so promi- 
nently forward, and made the foundation of so many striking 
and interesting speculations. His paper " On the Ultimate 
Composition of Simple Alimentary Bodies" shews that they 
are divisible into three kinds, namely, the saccharine, the 

or IVorked out by the late Dr Front. 101 

oily, and the albuminous, and likewise that the milk which 
nature has provided for the support of the young in mammi- 
ferous animals is alone capable of sustaining life, because it 
contains all three. 

Thus, while the former inquiry of Dr Prout' s contains the 
germ of one great principle so insisted upon by Liebig ; 
namely, the necessity for those minute quantities of mineral 
matters which are found to be present in plants, the latter 
suggested the groundwork of the Baron's other great work, 
in which he has explained so luminously the nature of the 
proximate principles required for the nutrition, and for the 
maintenance of heat, in animals. With regard to inquiries 
more purely medical, Dr Prout first gave a clear idea of the 
constitution of the urine, and shewed that the secretion of 
urea took place in the bloodvessels, whilst it was merely 
eliminated by the kidneys. By ascertaining that the urine 
of reptiles consists wholly of uric acid, he took the first step 
towards pointing out the relation between that body and 
urea, which latter Liebig supposes to be produced in warm- 
blooded animals, through the oxygenation of the former 

While by this train of research he threw so much impor- 
tant light upon the physiology of calculus, and other urinary 
disorders, he advanced at the same time our knowledge of 
digestion itself, by his discovery that the stomach in a 
healthy state always contains free muriatic acid. Hence 
probably the necessity of salt for all the higher animals. 

Such are a few of the great principles, either suggested 
or worked out by Dr Prout — contributions to physiological 
science important enough to establish his reputation as a 
great original thinker, as well as an accurate and scrupulous 
experimentalist. His two principal publications, namely, 
his Bridgewater Treatise and his work On the Stomach and 
Urinary Diseases, are each characterised by a very high, 
although a distinct order of merit. The former not only 
evinces a thorough mastery of the details of his subject, but 
also much ingenuity in unravelling the mysteries which beset 
us when we attempt to speculate on the intimate constitution 

102 The Cambrian and 

of matter. While soaring into this elevated region, he 
caught a glimpse of those views respecting the distinction 
between physical ond chemical atoms, from the development 
of which Dumas has since derived so much celebrity. 

On the other hand, in his latter work, dedicated to the 
relief of human suffering, he has abstained as much as pos- 
sible from such speculations, and has evinced an exemplary 
caution in confining his practical deductions strictly within 
their legitimate limits, at the same time that he has dis- 
played a profound sagacity in the discrimination and treat- 
ment of the diseases which fell within his province. 

The Cambrian and Silurian Discussion. 

In the fifty-second volume of this Journal we inserted, at 
p >ge 305, from the Literary Gazette, Professor Sedgwick's 
classification of the Palaeozoic Rocks, in which he describes 
the position and extent of the Cambrian and Silurian groups 
of that great series. Sir R. I. Murchison, in a letter to the 
Literary Gazette, inscribed at page 355 of the same volume 
(fifty-second volume) of this Journal, objects strongly to 
Professor Sedgwick's views. 

The discussion did not terminate with this letter, for in 
the present number of our Journal we have to insert three 
additional letters since published in the Literary Gazette. 

Were we not convinced that this discussion would form 
an interesting episode in the history of English geology, we 
might be blamed for occupying so many of our pages with 
controversial matter. 

The following are the three additional letters : — 

1. Professor Sedgwick's Answer to Sir B. I. Murchison' s Letter 
inserted in the Literary Gazette, and at page 355 of the Fifty - 
second Volume of the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal. 

Cambridge, 5th April 1852. 

Aii absence from Cambridge during two weeks prevented me 
from seeing your ' Literary Gazette ' of Mareh 20, at the time of 
its appearance ; and it is through the kindness of a friend that I 

Silurian Discussion. lOo 

have become at length acquainted with Sir R. I. Murchison's com- 
ment on an abstract (' Literary Gazette,' March 6) of a paper 
lately read by myself before the Geological Society of London. 
Had this comment been merely an exposition of certain general 
views of classification or nomenclature which differed from my own, 
it would have passed on my part without any further notice ; but 
it contains assertions that are founded in mistake, and, I believe, 
contrary to fact ; and it ends with a poetical squib, which may 
perhaps, among persons more open to mockery than to argument, 
have helped to raise a minute's laugh against me. Squibs are, 
after all, but sorry arguments. They seldom promote the cause of 
truth, and they never minister to good temper. I think I know 
my poetical antagonist — ex ungue leonem — and I forgive the lion. 
His roar, like that of the illustrious Bottom, is as gentle " as the 
note of any sucking dove." I am told that he is " a profound 
naturalist ;" and, if I am right in my man, this is true to the 
very letter, and beyond the letter. But has he ever cast a philo- 
sophical view over all the older rocks of Britain, so as to be a 
good judge on a general question of classification and nomencla- 
ture bearing upon the distribution of the oldest physical groups 
in this island? I might, perhaps, have answered this question 
in the affirmative, as a matter of belief or of courtsey, had I not 
read this poetical illustration of his mistaken nomenclature and 
narrow creed. He is a naturalist and a poet, and in this instance, 
more of a poet than a naturalist ; for poets deal best in fiction. 
Martial's weapons are too fine for geology ; if my poetical friend 
means to be a geologist, Vulcan's hammer will serve his purpose 

When he tells me that " Silurian beds we in myriads number," 
I tell him, in reply, that in Cambria I can outnumber his beds 
when five times told, though I begin my reckoning below any 
rock which has ever had its place fixed in a true Silurian section ; 
and when he adds that of " Cambrian strata stat nominis umbra" 
I retort upon him, that it is he who has put them in the shadehy 
daubing his own mistaken colours over them. Let him leave 
them where nature placed them, and they will then shine forth in 
their true colours — the grandest, the best-marked, and most 
glorious objects of the whole British palaeozoic series. 

He, it seems, has been inverting Nature's history by reading her 
story backwards ; by adopting a scheme in which he names the 
palaeozoic ancestors after their palaeozoic progeny, instead of the 
progeny after their ancestors ; by building his garrets in the air 
before he has so much as thought of the lower stories of his 
fabric ; or (to leave figures) by giving a name to the great Cam- 
brian series, borrowed from a newer country in which that series 
is not found ; and by vindicating this name by a " downward de- 
velopment," such as mocks the whole order of nature's laws and 

104 The Cambrian and 

workmanship. Schemes of development and nomenclature worked 
out on such a plan must inevitably disfigure science by loading it 
with incongruous names ; and, worse still, must hinder its true 
progress, by nattering a very mischievous spirit of premature 

He twits me with " lagging behind " my best fellow-labourer 
and friend. It may be so ; but I have not clung to the skirts of 
his garments, or hindered his progress ; for we have not worked 
together among the Silurian and Cambrian rocks of England since 
1834. But when the author of the squib seems to tell me that I 
am trying " to stifle " my friend to serve my own selfish purpose, 
he insinuates what is unjust to myself, and is unworthy of his pen. 
I have for thirty-four years kept my neck pretty steadily in the 
geological collar without ever having known a task-master, and 
for nearly thirty years I have devoted no small labour to the older 
palaeozoic series, especially in the British Isles. For every year 
which the author of the squib may have toiled among these rocks, 
I believe that I have toiled ten ; and whatever may be thought of the 
result of my labours, be it great or small, or nothing, this at least 
I do affirm, that I have stood in the way of no man, and that I 
have ever done my best to stifle any spirit of premature generali- 
zation that might rise within myself, lest it might minister to my 
personal vanity rather than to the lasting cause of truth. Hence 
I have never been over-anxious to give names to ancient groups 
of strata ; and where I have used such technical names, I have 
Avillingly changed them when the occasion seemed to call for it ; 
and by these very changes, made in deference to others, have I 
more than once been led into great errors of nomenclature. So 
far as regards the great Welsh series, I venture to affirm that, 
from first to last, my Cambrian sections were right in principle ; 
and that I never misinterpreted my upper groups except when I 
endeavoured, hypothetically, to adapt them to the lower Silurian 
groups, which, in the end, were proved to be wrong in principle. 
When this was at length made out, it would have been an act of 
downright folly and moral cowardice not to adhere to my original 
classification of the great Welsh series. I believe my classifica- 
tion will stand, because it is but a transcript of nature's true pro- 
gressive development ; and that my nomenclature will stand, 
because it is geographically true, and is built upon the common- 
sense principles announced in the opening words of the sixteenth 
chapter of ' The Silurian System,' and because (though a matter 
of far less moment) my names have the right of priority. Herein 
I dare to " appeal to the sense of mankind " — not in the language 
of poetical mockery and fiction, but in plain prosaic words, which 
are the honest transcript of my belief. 

To take away from that umbra which has eclipsed the vision of 

Silurian Discussion. 105 

my poetical friend, I advise him to read my last geological paper, 
should it be printed, not by the glare of his own fireworks, but in 
the light of day ; and then, should he think a single paragraph of 
it worth discussing, to discuss it with me in plain prose. 

Before I notice one or two statements of my friend, which are 
undoubtedly erroneous, let me, shortly as I can, call the attention 
of the reader to some preliminary facts and principles which vir- 
tually settle the whole question in debate. 

We began our labours independently in the summer of 1831. 
In July 1832, I exhibited before the British Association a section 
through the undulating system of Carnarvonshire, with the excep- 
tion of a single doubtful group near the Menai. I then determined 
the true succession of the several subordinate groups of my section 
and I have never changed it since. During the same summer 
(1832) I completed one or two parallel sections, from the Menai 
to the edge of Shropshire, which determined, I believe, correctly 
the general relations of the whole Cambrian series of Carnarvon- 
shire, Merionethshire, and Denbighshire. In the autumn of the 
same year I made two or three rapid traverses through South 
Wales, which, however imperfect as to details, enabled me to de- 
termine with absolute certainty that all, or nearly all, the eastern 
portions of the great undulating system of South Wales (lying to 
the east of Cardigan Bay) was superior to to the Bala limestone. 

In 1833, my friend exhibited before the British association some 
of his best sections through a district two years afterwards called 
Silurian. I followed him with an explanation of my sections, 
above noticed, across the great series of North Wales. What was 
then the state of our knowledge, and how far were we agreed \ 
At that time the overlying flagstones in the north of Denbighshire 
offered no difficulty. They were the undoubted equivalents of the 
overlying flagstones near Welsh Pool, afterwards called Upper 
Silurian. Neither at that time did the coarse sandstones and 
conglomerates at the base of the Denbigh flags offer any difficulty 
of interpretation. They appeared to represent, very naturally, the 
shelly sandstones, &c. (afterwards called Caradoc), of the sections 
exhibited by my friend. But there was a difficulty in the inter- 
pretation of my groups on the east side of the Berwyns. Left to 
my own sections I should, without hesitation, have placed these 
groups nearly on the parallel of the calcareous slates east of Bala, 
and called them a part of my Upper Cambrian series ; but this 
conclusion seemed to clash with my friend's interpretation of the 
plan of some shelly sandstones (Caradoc) near Welsh Pool. 
Hence I concluded by asserting " that there must be an overlap of 
our sections on the east sides of the Berwyns, which could only 
be explained by a joint interpretation made by us in the field." 

I have noticed the previous facts in historical order, mainly for 

106 The Cambrian and 

the purpose of laying down a principle of common sense and com- 
mon justice — viz. that if (in the region where the ' overlap' took 
place) I had blundered in my sections, and mistaken the relations 
of my upper groups, I was bound to expunge them from my Cam- 
brian series, and give them up to my friend. On the other hand, 
if he had misinterpreted the relations of his lower groups (Llan- 
deilo flags, &c), while I had given their equivalents a right place 
in my Cambrian sections, he was bound, by the same principle, to 
give up those lower groups to me. In laying down this principle 
(in plain prose and not in the language of poetical mockery), I 
also " appeal to the sense of mankind." 

My friend tells me (Literary Gazette, March 20, and at page 
355 of vol. Hi. of the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal) "that geo- 
logists must adhere to his nomenclature, founded on data which 
have proved to be true." I reply, that my position in this contro- 
versy is defensive, and not offensive ; that I maintain the nomen- 
clature first agreed upon ; and that my friend's nomenclature 
cannot be now adopted, simply because the data on which it was 
constructed have, out of all question, proved to be untrue. In 
1834 we visited together (and for the express purpose above men- 
tioned) what w T e supposed to be the most typical Silurian country 
both of South and North Wales. And what were the results ? 
The base line of the Silurian system, to the south of Welsh Pool, 
was then, I believe, laid down by my friend very nearly as it was 
afterwards published in his great work. I dictated not a single 
point of it. And this line was not laid down at random, but on 
the supposed evidence of sections, as interpreted by himself. 
Along the whole base line, so far as it was explained to me, the 
rocks he coloured as Cambrian were supposed by himself to be 
inferior to his lower Silurian groups ; and that he did not change 
his views on this material point during the four or five years 
which followed, is demonstrated by many passages of his great 
work, among which I may refer to those found in pages 256, 317, 
319, 343, 356, &c. &c. I then took this line on trust, and there 
was but one single point of it which we critically examined together. 
I now know that he misinterpreted his owu transverse sections, 
and that he made a double mistake — first, in uniting the Llandeilo 
and Caradoc groups ; secondly, in making them both superior to 
the rocks which in his great map are coloured as Cambrian. I 
made no mistake as to these Cambrian rocks ; for on the evidence 
of my own section I simply affirmed that they Avere superior to 
the Bala limestone. 

We then examined together the beds on the east side of the 
Berwyns. My friend pronounced the Meifod beds to be (as they 
were soon afterwards called) Caradoc sandstone, in its most typical 
form, ; and from these very bods ho lias derived some of the good 

Silurian Discussion. 107 

Caradoc fossils which were figured in his work. On a Silurian 
question I believed him infallible ; and on the principle of common 
justice above laid down, I struck out the calcareous slates, east 
of the Berwyns, from my Cambrian series, and coloured them as 
they afterwards appeared in the first great Silurian map. This I 
did without reserve, though I thereby threw my own upper Cam- 
brian sections into inexplicable difficulties. How completely I 
was misled by this misinterpretation of my friend, and when, and 
by what means, I afterwards returned to right views, which con- 
firmed my original sections, cannot be discussed here. 

Finally, we visited the Bala limestone, and on the evidence of 
sections (though a single eye-glance was enough to shew that the 
Bala fossils were very nearly the same with those of Meifod), my 
friend accepted my interpretation of its geological place, and, spite 
of its fossils, pronounced it to belong to an undoubted Cambrian, 
and not a Silurian group. And the conclusion, so long as he 
maintained the integrity of his own lower Silurian sections, was 
irrisistible. If it has since been proved that the Llandeilo flag is 
the equivalent of the Bala limestone, there arises this question, 
By whose mistake were these two groups ever separated ? I reply, 
they were kept asunder by a great fundamental mistake in the 
Silurian sections, and by no mistake I ever committed in my Cam- 
brian sections. This mistake is stamped on my friend's great 
map, as well as on a page of his first paper that was written after 
there arose a controversy between us.* Here, therefore, I apply 
the principle (above laid down) of common sense and common 
justice, and claim the Bala limestone and the groups immediately 
above it, and all their equivalents wherever found, as true and 
integral parts of the upper Cambrian series. 

In the sense in which our author first used the words Silurian 
System, his nomenclature was not only premature, but erroneous. 
For the fundamental sections on which his nomenclature was 
grounded were untrue to nature ; and we cannot have a true 
system that is built upon a false base. I think I may again 
" appeal to the sense of mankind" in vindication of this last con- 

* See Journal of the Geological Society, 1847, p. 167. The section given on 
this page is, in fact, the foundation of the whole Silurian nomenclature. But 
my friend's statement is entirely incorrect when he adds, that its lowest beds 
were intended only " to represent certain inferior unfossiliferous rocks, such 
as those of the Longmynd." The section does not at all apply to the case of 
the Longmynd; and the inferior (or Cambrian) rocks of his original sections 
were not considered unfossiliferous either in 1834 or in 1839, when his System 
was published. He knew the contrary. And when he adds, that his sections 
were meant to represent what is stated in this page (167), he does not give his 
original interpretation of them, but he entirely shifts his ground, and puts upon 
them a new meaning, in order to bring them into conformity with a new map 
founded on a new scheme of nomenclature. 

108 The Cambrian and 

elusion. Had the author (when he found that his fundamental 
sections were wrong) contracted his system, and based it on the 
Caradoc group, which seems to he a natural connecting link be- 
tween the true Silurian and the true Cambrian groups, he might 
have continued his nomenclature, and maintained it in its true 
integrity. For the several groups of his system would then have 
been well defined " by the order of superposition and imbedded 
organic remains" seen in a series of true typical sections ; and the 
collective groups of his system might have been very properly 
called Silurian, " to mark thereby (using his own words) the 
territory in which the best types and clearest relations were ex- 

But in 1843 my friend applied a new principle of nomen- 
clature to a great series of Cambrian rocks which he had never 
examined, and of which I had first determined the true general 
relations. They were to be called and coloured as Silurian, be- 
cause they contained certain fossils common to the beds he had 
called Lower Silurian, yet of which he had, in his fundamental 
sections, misrepresented the relations. This principle I have a 
right to call new, for it was in direct antagonism with his con- 
clusions in 1834, when we were together in the field. It was not 
enunciated in the " Silurian System ;" it was not acknowledged, 
but rather contradicted, by what I had myself written, and it was 
never communicated to myself. I was no consenting party to the 
colours placed by my friend on a geological map of England in 
1843 ; nor did I even know of its existence till two or three years 
afterwards. We may apply this principle with safety, if it be 
derived from an old system which has been perfectly defined, and 
of which the several subordinate parts have been already named ; 
but as applied to a new and unknown system, such as that of 
Wales, it virtually destroyed the sense and meaning of the whole 
Silurian nomenclature, for it deserted the principles the author 
himself enunciated for his own guidance and the vindication of 
his adopted names. Palaeontology is not the mistress but the 
handmaid of geology ; and any new system, drawn from an 
unexplored country, is utterly worthless if it rest not funda- 
mentally on the evidence of natural sections and natural groups. 
Fossil evidence may then follow, but it tells us nothing in a new 
system while the groups are undefined. 

Out of all comparison the greatest boon, within my memory, 
conferred on palaeozoic geology was the establishment of the Upper 
Silurian groups. The honour derived from this great boon is my 
friend's undisputed right. The establishment of the Devonian 
series soon followed by an almost inevitable necessity. We had 
long known, through many published works, the general aspect 
of Hie older palaeozoic fauna ; and when the Devonian and Upper 

Silurian Discussion concluded. 109 

Silurian species were removed, it was plain that we had no right 
to look for, nor did I ever expect to find, any great succession of 
changing organic types in the vast series below the Caradoc sand- 
stone. But we have no right to name this vast series from a 
single group near its upper surface. My names are geographically 
true, and from the first were honestly derived from sections tra- 
versing the series from top to bottom. My friend stopped short, 
or mistook his way, in the descending series, and then ventured 
to blot out the old and true name, and to give his own name to a 
great series he had not explored, thereby violating a principle 
which teaches us that systems and groups must be established 
first, and that names must follow afterwards. 

In another sentence of his comment, my friend tells me " that 
these observers (viz. Sir H. de la Beche and the other gentlemen of 
the Government Survey) have satisfied themselves that the region 
called Cambria, at a time when none of its fossils were described, 
is made up of the same strata, and contains the same organic re- 
mains, as the lower Silurian rocks," &c. &c. It is not correct to 
say that none of the Cambrian fossils had been described ; but I 
will let that mistake pass, as a small matter in comparison of the 
enormous misstatements (to be explained only by the incautious 
hurry of my friend's comment) that the older Cambrian groups are 
made up of the same strata, and contain the same organic remains 
as the lower Silurian rocks ! I would venture to stake my life 
upon the issue of a question as to the correctness of this assertion. 
I will give my friend a descending point two or three thousand 
feet below any rocks he has reached in any true section, and the 
gentlemen of the Survey will tell him that he may descend 20,000 
feet lower still before he reaches the lowest limit of organic life as 
seen among the older groups of Wales. 

That the Government surveyors have adopted my friend's 
nomenclature is true. But I believe that the director of the Sur- 
vey adopted it, not because he thought it best and most true to 
nature, but because he believed "that I had given up a very good 
nomenclature.'" I believe he was led into this mistake by a map 
(first Number of the Journal of the Geological Society, p. 22), 
which was introduced by myself, but not submitted to my revision, 
and which, in the explanation of the colours, utterly misrepresents 
the meaning of my paper, and of which I therefore disclaim the 
authorship. Be this as it may, no authority upon earth can 
make the adopted nomenclature either historically just or geo- 
graphically true. 

I cannot follow my friend in his excursions to distant lands. 
The question between us is a question only of the classifica- 
tion of British rocks, and must be decided only on British evi- 
dence. If* he, in a rash zeal for a premature nomenclature, has 

1 1 The Cambrian and 

been misled himself, or misled others, in giving wrong names and 
wrong British equivalents to distant regions, such mistakes belong 
not to the fundamental questions discussed in this reply. I have 
looked only to facts and first principles, and fiat justitia, without 
regard to my own mistakes or those of others, shall be my motto. 
And I reaffirm that no authority on earth can make the lower 
Silurian sections right, or subordinate to them the great Cambrian 

Had I space for the discussion, I could prove that several of 
the authorities quoted against me do, when rightly interpreted, 
make good weight of evidence on my side ; and I have not the 
shadow of a doubt that my own scheme of classification will bring 
the older British palaeozoic groups into far better co-ordination 
with the magnificent palaeozoic series of America than they have 
ever been brought before, through the intervention of the imper- 
fect, and (so far as regards the lower groups) the erroneous sec- 
tions of the Silurian system. The comparison of foreign palaeo- 
zoic rocks with those of Britain has hitherto, I affirm, not been 
based " upon a natural British arrangement " but upon an arrange- 
ment partly defective and partly erroneous, and therefore unna- 
tural. The establishment of a better nomenclature, based upon 
better sections, will give foreign geologists better terms of com- 
parison, and thereby clear away many existing mistakes, and much 
present confusion. Harmony and order will inevitably follow the 
establishment of a true typical palaeozoic series in England ; and 
the points at issue between my friend and myself by no means 
are dependent upon any future questions which may arise re- 
specting certain changes in the palaeozoic names and colours of 
foreign maps, provided my scheme of classification and nomencla- 
ture were adopted. The only questions admissible in the debate 
are those which have a bearing on the truth of the sections, the 
natural succession of the groups, and the geographical propriety 
of the collective names when applied to British rocks. With the 
assertion of this principle of common sense I conclude my reply. 

Adam Sedgwick. 

2. Sir R. I. Murchison's Comments on Professor Sedgwick's 
Letter {No. 1.) 

April 17. 

The letter of my old friend Professor Sedgwick, has not, it ap- 
pears to me, at all affected the integrity of the Silurian System, as de- 
fined by myself many years ago, and as since understood and received 
by geologists. A very brief review of data which my friend seems 
to have forgotten, is alone required. It is beside the question now at 
issue to revert to what we respectively did in the field in 1831 and 

Silurian Discussion. Ill 

1832, or to appeal to what he communicated verbally in the latter 
year respecting a part of North Wales, the only printed record of 
which is comprised in about twenty lines of the first volume of the 
Transactions of the British Association, 

The first methodical and digested view of a sedimentary succes- 
sion beneath the known and fixed horizon of the old red-sandstone, 
was presented by myself to the Geological Society in 1834,* as 
the result of memoirs of 1831, 1832, and 1833. The four forma- 
tions described then as " fossiliferous greywacke," were, in the 
year 1835, named the Silurian System, the two superior (Ludlow 
and Wenlock) being termed Upper, the two inferior (Caradoc and 
Llandeilo) Lower Silurian, and each being characterised by its 

In 1836 the word Cambrian was first used, Professor Sedgwick 
affirming that the slaty rocks which he so termed, and which laid 
to the west of the Silurian region, were all of them inferior to the 
strata of my system. This inferiority of position has proved to be 
a fundamental misconception, as now demonstrated by the physical 
researches of the Government geological surveyors. In their 
hands the Cambria of Sedgwick, which was undefined and unknown 
through any publication of its fossils, has proved to be identical 
in age with the original published Siluria of Murchison. 

In 1838, when the detailed descriptions of the composition of 
the Silurian System were published, I spoke of the line of demar- 
cation on my map, as being provisionally set up between the 
Silurian rocks with which I was well acquainted, and a Cambrian 
series of which I was ignorant. But the latter being said to be 
vastly inferior to all the strata I described, I naturally believed it 
would prove, in the hands of my friend, to contain a distinct sys- 
tem of former life. Strata, identified by their fossils and infra- 
position to a known horizon, were the bases of my classification and 
nomenclature ; and no other idea ever crossed my mind than that 
the Cambrian could alone be established as a system, by having a 
fauna different from my own, and by being inferior to it. Various 
passages in my original works clearly expose this view. 

My friend says, that in 1843 I shifted my ground, and put a 
new meaning upon my views, in order to bring them into confor- 

! mity with a new map founded on a new scheme of nomenclature. 
The recorded facts, he must forgive me for saying, are quite op- 
posed to this assertion, and are indeed well known to practical 
geologists. The little geological map of England and Wales, 
published by me in 1843, at the request of the Society for the 
Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, was not issued " rashly" but after 

i much deliberation and examination. 

* Proceedings of the Geological Society, vol. ii. p. 13. 

112 The Canibri(i)i and 

Having ascertained, in the years 1840 and 1841, that, on the 
Continent, the Lower Silurian fossils were the lowest fossil types, 
I traversed the North Welsh or Cambrian region in 1842, accom- 
panied by one of my Russian coadjutors, Count Keyserling, to 
ascertain it' a similar distribution prevailed in Britain. We satis- 
fied ourselves (leaving all physical proofs to the Government geo- 
logists, who were then beginning their survey of Wales) that after 
many apparent flexures, strata containing the same fossils appeared 
on the flanks and summit of Snowdon, as those which we had left 
in Shropshire, and to the east flank of the Berwyn mountains, a 
country which had been specially mapped and described as u Silu- 
rian." It was, therefore, after foreign comparisons, and after an 
actual traverse of the so-called Cambrian region, that I published 
the map of 1843, which, though complained of by my friend, has 
proved to be correct, and substantially in general harmony with 
the final results, physical and geological, of the Government geo- 
logical surveyors. 

I would further refer to the unambiguous printed declarations 
with which I opened both my discourses of 1842 and 1843, as 
President of the Geological Society, to prove that I took every 
opportunity of publishing my conclusions before I issued that 
map. This, for example, is a small portion of what I printed in 
1842, — "The base of the Palaeozoic deposits, as founded on the 
distribution of organic remains, may be considered fairly established; 
for the Lower Silurian is thus shewn by Professor Sedgwick him- 
self (I was then speaking of a recent memoir of his own) to be the 
oldest which can be detected in North Wales, the country of all 
others in Europe in which there is a great development of the in- 
ferior strata."* 

As Professor Sedgwick made no opposition to this induction of 
the author of the Silurian System, nor to another ample illustra- 
tion of it in 1843, f nothing, it seemed to me, remained to be done 
in British Palaeozoic classification, except that the Government 
geologists, who were preparing detailed maps and sections of 
Wales, should decide whether there were, or were not, fossiliferous 
strata occupying a lower position than any which had been for- 
merly described as Lower Silurian. Their reply, in a stratigra- 
phical and physical sense, is what I affirmed in my last letter, not 
rashly, but after a careful reference to the maps and sections they 
have prepared. Taking the tract east of the Berwyn mountains, 
which I have described as the country of my region, which afforded 
the fullest development of Lower Silurian rocks resting upon un- 
fossiliferous greywacke, these geologists have proved that the strata 

* Proceedings of the Geological Society of London, vol. iii., p. 549. 
t Ibid., vol. iv., p. 70. 

Silurian Discussion. 113 

containing fossils, which lie between the Berwyns and Snowdon, 
(the Cambria of Sedgwick), are the same as those I had drawn in 
sections, and described in words, in the " Silurian System." 

If any one wishes to verify this statement, let him compare my 
original coloured map and sections* of the country west of the 
Longmynd (Stiper Stones and Shelve), with those detailed maps 
and diagrams of the surveyors, which explain all the flexures and 
breaks across North Wales, and he will then see that our hard- 
working and able contemporaries have demonstrated that nearly 
all the fossil-bearing strata of Cambria have their equivalents in 
Siluria ; and that even the rocks of unfossiliferous greywacke, to 
which Sir H. de la Beche and his followers now restrict the word 
Cambrian, are more copious and thicker in the Longmynd of my 
original tract of Shropshire, than in any of the similar North Welsh 
masses which underlie the strata of Snowdon. This is not my 
statement, but the deduction of the Government surveyors, after 
many years of labour in the field. 

Supported as I am by such authorities, I can afford to be criti- 
cised for two or three mistakes in a large work containing about 
240 coloured sections, woodcuts, and views. Belying on the im- 
partial judgment of numerous contemporaries, who know how 
hard I laboured, and what I did effect in classification, I will not 
dispute about a patch of Caradoc sandstone here, or one of Llan- 
deilo flag there, since I have laid it down that these subdivisions 
are characterised by many of the same fossils. The researches of 
late years have, indeed, confirmed the unity of the Silurian System, 
by shewing that many of the same species of fossils pervade the 
vjhole series of its loiver and upper rocks. 

It is this fact which prevents the possibility of a change of 
nomenclature, and the application of two unconnected names to 
one system of life. In short, the proposed amputation of the lower 
half of the Silurian System would, in my opinion, be a violation 
of nature. 

In the work, Russia and the Ural Mountains, in which a general 
view of the whole ascending order, from the lowest to the highest 
strata, was given by my colleagues and myself, it was shewn that 
the Silurian System, so thick in Britain, has in the north of Europe 
so thin a vertical development (though equally divisible into very 
rich fossiliferous lower and upper deposits) as to be quite incapable 
of separation into two rock systems. But as Professor Sedgwick 
does not like foreign parallels, I will conclude this letter by citing 
two home geographical illustrations of the effect of his proposed 
nomenclature. Let any one cast his eye over my map of the 

* u Silurian System," map, and pi. 31, fig. 4; pi. 32, figs. 1, 2, 3, &c. 
VOL. LIU. NO. CV. — JULY 1852. 


114 The Cambrian and 

Silurian region, and he will see, that if the Lower Silurian rocks, 
which are represented as ranging through Brecon and Caermar- 
thenshire by Llandovery and Llandeilo, be converted into Cam- 
brian, the Silurian System (hitherto the only published type of 
comparison) will be reduced to an almost imperceptible line. 
Again, let the inquirer look in the same map at Broad Sound, 
in Pembrokeshire, where, to my great satisfaction, I first found all 
the Silurian formations, from the Ludlow to the Llandeilo, rising 
out from beneath the old red-sandstone, and then tell me if fiat 
justitia will reconcile geologists to the abstraction of the half of 
what I have proved to be Silurian, leaving me in a corner of one 
bay with my Upper Silurian rocks only — the pars pro toto ? This 
must be the practical British issue of the adoption of the nomen- 
clature of Professor Sedgwick. 

The geologists and naturalists of the Government Survey, being 
satisfied that there is but one series of rocks and fossils in the bay 
of Pembroke above cited, have further proved, by admeasurement, 
that this same " Silurian System" is spread over nearly all Wales. 
To those persons aud their works I again refer my friend. Esta- 
blishing the Silurian System, I applied it to some foreign countries. 
The Government surveyors have spread it over Cambria, not 
through any mistake whatever, but on the true principle of assimi- 
lating things unknown to things which have been described. 

I now terminate on my part a controversy which has given me 
much pain, yet from which I could not shrink ; for mine is not 
merely a combat pro aris Silurianis, but the defence of a classifi- 
cation which I believe to be natural and indestructible. And 
although my old friend has, both in his first abstract (see Literary 
Gazette, March 6) and his last letter, used some racy expressions, 
and that I have thought it right to speak plainly, I look with un- 
diminished confidence to our sliding down the shady slope of life 
with that mutual esteem and regard which were formed when 
climbing many a hill together both at home and abroad. 

In our general geological views we are as united as in days of 
vore. Roderick Impey Murchison. 

3. — Professor Sedgwick's Reply to the preceding Letter of 
Sir R. L. Murchison. 

Norwich, May 8. 
Sir, — My copy of the ' Literary Gazette ' for April 24 having 
been addressed to me at Norwich, did not reach me until my 
arrival here the early part of this week ; and now (after having 
been several days indisposed and quite incapable of writing) I send 
my final answer to the last Silurian comments of my friend Sir 
R. I. Murchison. My replies shall be as specific and as short as 

Silurian Discussion. 115 

I can make them ; and I am writing from memory, without a 
single geological work before me, or a single note of reference. 

1. " It is beside the question (he tells me, 4 Literary Gazette? 
p. 369) to revert to what we respectively did in the field in 1831 
and 1832." It is not beside the question to have done this. 
The comparison of our work (at the British Association in 1833) 
led us, by agreement, to a joint examination of the typical Silurian 
country in 1834. My friend had most perfect fair play. I did 
not contest his base line at a single point. On a Silurian ques- 
tion I believed him infallible ; and I accepted his interpretation 
of the sections not only in South Wales but also in my own 
country on the east side of the Berw^yns, where he pronounced the 
Meifod beds to be his most typical form of Caradoc sandstone, 
then called Shelly Sandstone. It was not I that cut away the 
Cambrian rocks from the Silurian. It was he that cut off the so- 
called Silurian rocks from the general system of North and South 
Wales, and declared them to form a distinct and superior system ; 
and as such he described them in his sections, and afterwards 
coloured them in his map. On no other hypothesis could he give 
any real meaning to his nomenclature. 

2. In the next paragraph he adds that all the rocks I called 
Cambrian, and which lay to the west of the Silurian region, were 
affirmed by myself to be inferior to the strata of his own system. 
I reply that I cannot consent to have the load of my friend's 
mistakes thrown upon my shoulders. If there be a single true 
Silurian rock on the west side of his base line, he has only him- 
self to blame for the fact ; the mistake is his, and not mine. But 
taking the Caradoc sandstone as the physical base of the Silurian 
system, we may still affirm that all the rocks to the west of the 
true Silurian base are inferior to the whole Siluria7i system. I 
contend that the Llandeilo flag (which is but one single stage in 
the Great Bala or Upper Cambrian group) is a Cambrian, and not 
a Silurian rock. I determined the place of its equivalent (the 
Bala limestone) correctly in my sections. My friend utterly mis- 
took the true relations of his Llandeilo flag. Of this I had, as I 
thought, good evidence in 1846, when I revisited the Silurian 
country ; and taking the new evidence given by the admirable 
details of the Government map, we may see at a glance the extent 
of the mistakes made by him in the interpretation of his Lower 
Silurian groups. (1.) The want of conformity of the upper to the 
lower groups is not brought out in the Silurian map ; and this led 
to a mistaken interpretation of the next inferior group. (2.) The 
upper part of the Llandeilo group is mistaken for the Caradoc 
sandstone. (3.) The Llandeilo flagstone is made the base of the 
system, and is put in every section above the undulatory rocks on 
its western side. There is not one single section in South Wales 


1 1 6 The Cambrian and 

where my friend has determined the true relations of the Llandeilo 
flag to the beds above it and below it, so as to define its place in 
a general section of Wales, whether real or ideal. I offer no 
criticism " on two or three mistakes ;" I affirm that the whole 
conception of the relations of the Llandeilo flag to my Upper 
Cambrian group was erroneous ; and that all the lower parts of 
my friend's general and ideal sections — the very foundations of 
his Silurian nomenclature — were wrong in principle. 

3. In the same paragrapli my friend adds, " that the inferiority 
of position (viz. of the Upper Cambrian or Upper Bala group to 
the Llandeilo flag) has proved to be a fundamental misconception." 
True ; but with whom rests the blame of this fundamental mis- 
conception ? Any man of common sense reading this paragraph, 
must conclude that the mistake was mine. But wliat is the fact ? 
I made no mistake whatsoever when I affirmed that what I for- 
merly called my Upper Cambrian system overlaid the Bala lime- 
stone. That the same groups of Upper Cambrian strata under- 
laid the Llandeilo flag, was the " fundamental misconception" of 
my friend ; and he must bear the blame of it. The mistake I 
made was the adoption, during fourteen years, of this fundamental 
error on the sole authority of my friend. 

4. At the end of the same paragraph he adds as follows : " In 
the hands of the Government geological surveyors, the Cambria of 
Sedgwick, which was undefined and unknown through any publi- 
cation of its fossils, has proved to be identical in age with the 
original published Siluria of Murchison." Any plain, unsophis- 
ticated reader must conclude, I think, from such words as these, 
that in the interpretation of the Cambrian sections I had made 
some great radical mistake, and that the sections of my opponent 
were immaculate. Now t the very reverse of this is the case. The 
Government surveyors have discovered no great fundamental mis- 
take in my Welsh sections, while they have completely upset the 
scheme on which the two Lower Silurian stages were constructed 
by my friend. To say that the great Cambrian groups are 
" identical in age with the original published Silurian rocks of 
Murchison," is so extravagantly inaccurate, that it is no easy 
matter to describe its inaccuracy in respectful language. My 
friend might just as well affirm that all the vast series of rocks 
west of the Berwyns are identical in age with the Bala limestone ! 
But we may ask, how have the Government surveyors brought 
the Llandeilo flag of the Silurian system into comparison with the 
great groups of Cambria ? By a process of development, both 
upwards and downwards, by adding three or four thousand feet of 
strata (which had been completely misinterpreted by my friend 
and antagonist) above the Llandeilo flag, so as to connect it with 
•the Caradoc sandstone, and then by adding, in a descending sec- 

Silurian Discussion. 117 

tion, at least 25,000 feet to its base. The Llandeilo flag, thus 
developed and tricked out, becomes the equivalent of my Cambrian 
system ! But under no interpretation, compatible with the plain 
meaning of words, can it be called " the original published Siluria 
of Murchison." 

5. I re-affirm, with great confidence, that my friend has utterly 
shifted his original ground of classification. In his reply to my 
remarks on this head, lie has kept out of sight the important fact, 
that in 1834 (the last time we were together in North Wales) he 
accepted my interpretation of tbe Bala limestone ; and, spite of 
its fossils, declared his conviction that, by the evidence of the sec- 
tions, it was unequivocally a member of the Cambrian series, and 
removed it out of his Silurian system. If he afterwards saw reason 
to change his views as to this essential point, he was, I think, 
called upon to communicate that change to myself; but no such 
communication was ever made to me. Again, it is by no means 
correct to say that the Cambrian rocks were undefined, and their 
fossils unknown. The rocks were well defined by true sections. 
No good general list of their fossils had been published by myself ; 
but I stated, again and again, before the publication of the Silurian 
system, that many of the Cambrian fossils were of identical species 
with the Lower Silurian ; that in the Bala group several fossils 
(enumerated by their specific names), and nine species of Orthis, 
were identical with known Lower Silurian species, &c. &c. Lastly, 
my friend himself, though he called the Bala limestone Cambrian, 
did not discover in it a single species that was not also found in 
the Llandeilo group. When he afterwards, discarding the evidence 
of sections, began to feel his way downwards, and, by help of 
fossils only, endeavoured to bring the great Cambrian groups 
within the narrow limits of his two Lower Silurian stages, I have 
a right to affirm that he shifted his ground, and deserted the ori- 
ginal principles of his classification. 

6. Speaking of himself and Count Keyserling, he informs us — 
" that in 1842 they satisfied themselves that, after many apparent 
flexures, strata containing the same fossils appeared on the flanks 
and summit of Snowdon as those they had left on the east flank 
of the Berwyns, a country which had been specially mapped and 
described as Silurian." As to the country east of the Berwyns, 
a part of it was erroneously mapped by my friend, and another 
part of it was erroneously coloured by myself, in conformity with 
his misinterpretation of the deposits, which he made Caradoc sand- 
stone. To have been consistent, therefore, he and Count Keyser- 
ling must have regarded the top of Snowdon as Caradoc sandstone, 
a conclusion which would have been incontestably erroneous. As 
to the Snowdonian fossils, I had published a pretty good list of 
them at least twelve months before the summer of 1842, and a 
short list had been previously given by Professor Phillips. They 

118 The Cambrian and 

were all of them species of the Bala group ; but, unquestionably, 
that did not prove them fossils of any true Silurian stage. 

7. As to evidence derived from foreign regions, I by no means 
protest against the reasonable use of it ; but I do protest against 
its use in determining the proper fundamental nomenclature of 
British rocks. Questions of this kind must be decided on British 
evidence ; neither can I now (from utter want of documents) dis- 
cuss what my friend calls induction, made in 1843. At that time 
I did believe that my friend's lower Silurian groups would be 
found to descend as far as the Bala limestone — that the Bala lime- 
stone was Caradoc — and that a considerable part of the undulating 
groups of South Wales would turn out Upper Silurian. How I 
came, in 1843, to entertain, hypothetically, these erroneous views, 
and how I got rid of them, are questions I have discussed in a 
paper which before this time is probably published in the Quar- 
terly Journal of the Geological Society. 

8. Lastly, I request the reader to bear in mind that my whole 
position is not aggressive, but defensive. I continue to use the 
nomenclature mutually agreed upon about sixteen or seventeen 
years since. The rocks found in Wales, and not in Siluria, I still 
call Cambrian. All the rocks in Siluria are still called Silurian. 
My scheme involves no geographical incongruity, deprives my 
friend not of one single rock he is entitled to name on British evi- 
dence, and it has the incontestable right of priority. It does not 
exclude the Llandeilo flag from the rocks of Siluria. But this very 
Llandeilo flag (the Bala limestone) was in 1834 placed by my 
friend among the Upper Cambrian groups, and in a region where 
the sections were unambiguous and rightly interpreted ; while the 
typical Llandeilo flag of South Wales was utterly misinterpreted 
by himself as to its geological relations. All this is clear to de- 
monstration ; and the conclusions that follow from it are inevi- 
table, and settle at once all grounds of difference between my friend 
and myself. No man living can have a right to change his no- 
menclature by fashioning it to sections which are wrong, while he 
discards sections which are right. 

In all his argument he seems to think especially of the import- 
ance of perpetuating his own premature nomenclature of foreign 
rocks ; and this view warps his whole argument. His premature 
nomenclature is to be vindicated at whatever cost, and without any 
reference to the published sections of a fellow-labourer, who had 
honestly worked through the vast and most difficult series of true 
Cambrian rocks, and knew their relations ; while he had himself 
barely touched the same series on its outskirts — had only pre- 
tended to describe two of its highest stages ; and, as to the lower 
of these two stages, had irremediably blundered. Hence he has 
been compelled to adopt a monstrous scheme of development, lead- 
ing to the monstrous conclusion that his single stage — the Llan- 

Silurian Discussion. 119 

deilo flag — is, by this new scheme of development, identical in age 
with beds at least 25,000 feet in thickness, which undulate 
between the Berwyns and the Menai ! And a monstrous develop- 
ment is to be followed by a new and monstrous nomenclature, in 
which a great fundamental group which does not exist in Wales 
is to be called Cambrian, while the grand series of the older Cam- 
brian rocks are to be called Silurian, though they form the moun- 
tains of Wales, and do not exist at all in the typical Silurian re- 
gion. No authority, however great, can perpetuate such an incon- 
gruous and unwarranted nomenclature ; and it is historically as 
unjust as geographically it is incongruous. 

From the very first, the term Silurian System was used prema- 
turely by its author, and against repeated remonstrances on my 
own part. For the system had no clear physical or zoological 
base. Many of the fossils found below it in the Cambrian rocks, 
I affirmed to be of the same species with those in the two lower so- 
called Silurian groups. Advancing knowledge strengthened these 
objections, and it was at length discovered that the whole system, 
according to the author's scheme, rested physically on a false base. 
But there is still a good Silurian system, agreeably to my friend's 
use of the word System, based on the Caradoc sandstone. This 
sandstone is a great mechanical and often an unconformable de- 
posit, constituting the true connecting links between Cambria and 
Siluria. It partakes of the zoological characters of both regions. 
At May Hill its fossils seem to be those of the Wenlock stage. At 
Horderley they very nearly approach to those of the Bala stage. 
Is there any single Caradoc section where these two fossil groups 
appear together ? If so, are the types blended or superimposed % 
Some questions of this kind require a careful re- examination ; 
though they have already been excellently handled by Professor 
Phillips. If questions such as these were completely solved, we 
should, I think, need nothing more for a full history of the true 
sequence and natural progressive development of the oldest fossil- 
bearing rocks of Britain, beginning with the Cambrian and ending 
with the Silurian series. 

To the concluding words of my friend's comment (Literary 
Gazette, April 24, p. 370), I express my heartfelt concurrence. 
When we went round the Highlands of Scotland in 1827, I was 
then his superior in physical endurance ; but a quarter of a cen- 
tury has, alas ! made me but a sorry labourer in the field. Still 
I am not without hopes of again meeting him in his true Silurian 
country, and endeavouring to settle, along with him, one or two 
minute, and not laborious, questions of demarcation to which I 
have just pointed. 

Adam Sedgwick. 

120 William F. Daniell, Esq., on the Ethnography of 

On the Ethnography of Akkrah andAdampe, Gold Coast, West- 
ern Africa. By WILLIAM F. Daniell, M.D., F.R.G.S., 
Assistant Surgeon to the Forces, &c. Communicated by 
the Ethnological Society. 

(Continued from vol. Hi., p. 303.) 

Deaths. — Upon the death of any native, several curious and in- 
teresting rites are strictly enjoined, from the performance of which 
they seldom deviate. Apparently great consideration is attached to 
them, if we may judge from the peculiar customs and celebrations 
enacted on such occurrences, not only by the inhabitants of the Gold 
Coast, but in most of the countries of Western Africa. Shortly after 
life has become extinct, the body is thoroughly washed by the house- 
hold women, and every portion of it well rubbed over with a ligno- 
resinous powder named teufan, procured from the bark of a certain 
tree, which possessing an aromatic fragrance, is first pulverised and 
then appropriated as a perfume of ordinary use. The head and face 
are next carefully shaved, the limbs invested with their usual brace- 
lets and other golden ornaments, and the whole body enshrouded in 
a number of the richest and most sumptuous dresses that can be 
chosen. If the deceased has been a person of consequence, gold 
dust is liberally sprinkled over the face and other uncovered surfaces, 
on which it is retained by the previous application of Ashante grease 
or the vegetable butter, brought from the interior. The corpse thus 
arrayed is then exposed in state for a brief period for the farewell in- 
spection of all relatives and friends, and is subsequently enclosed in a 
wooden box, and privately interred. In Akkrah the dead are inva- 
riably buried in one of the compartments within the house, but the 
slaves, unless they are favourites, lie scattered around the environs 
of the town, in some convenient spot selected for the purpose. With- 
in the coffins of the more affluent are deposited a great variety of 
native cloths, gold rings, and other valuable trinkets, and occasion- 
ally a few bottles filled with gold dust, while upon their exterior 
surface are placed the brass ewer and basin, with the spoon, which 
the defunct was wont to employ during lifetime, and which the family 
now deemed an indispensable accompaniment towards the comfort 
to be attained in the next world. Until within a recent date, the 
immolation of human victims at these obsequies was fully authorised 
by the institutions of the country, to the end that the deceased might 
not be found deficient in the requisite number of attendants as would 
be found compatible with the rank he was supposed to keep in another 
sphere of existence. It is not many years since, upon the death of one 
of the powerful caboceers of Kinka, this sacrifice was consummated 
by the offering of two young slaves, who were slaughtered without 
compunction on the edge of the grave, and their bodies separately 

Akkrah and Adampe, Gold Coast, Africa. 121 

extended, the male below and the female above the remains of their 
late lord. Latterly, owing to the strict surveillance of the British 
Government, these barbarous rites have been temporarily abolished ; 
but there can be little doubt that should these people ever become 
emancipated from the jurisdiction of Europeans, they would again re- 
vert to the observance of what to them is viewed in the solemn 
hVht of a sacred obligation. 

On these melancholy occasions the wives and other near female 
relatives lament, in pathetic terms, their unfortunate bereavement, 
and affect to deplore, by external manifestations of grief, the irre- 
parable loss they have sustained. The hair is totally shaven from 
the head, every ornament and personal decoration removed, and 
dark and sombre garments substituted in lieu of their ordinary dress, 
whose gayer hues were more emblematic of the cheerful days of the 
past, than of the gloomy prospects of the present. To evince the 
sincerity of their grief, the women studiously observe a solemn 
fast, abstain from every kind of food throughout the day, withdraw 
from public life, and immure themselves privately within the recesses 
of their respective chambers. For the space of three weeks or more, 
during the continuance of the custom that invariably succeeds, these 
injunctions are unequivocally obeyed, after which a certain degree of 
laxity follows, and the confinement of the wives becomes less restricted, 
they being permitted to frequent other divisions of the house and 
court-yards, and should circumstances compel an exit from their 
seclusion, a grave decorum is still preserved, and those conventional 
precedents that denote the mournful character of the duties entailed 
upon them, are carefully exhibited. The partial or entire removal 
of the hair, as a native testimony of affliction and sorrow, is one of 
those remarkable peculiarities that bear a close affinity to the or- 
dinances introduced by the Jewish legislator in the 21st chapter of 
Deuteronomy, in which it is duly enjoined as follows : — • 

" Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall 
shave her head and pare her nails. And she shall put the raiment 
of captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail 
her father and mother a full month." 

That this was a usage of great antiquity, and common to many 
nations from the earliest ages of the world, long previous to its dis- 
semination among the Jews, may be distinctly affirmed. Mention 
has been made of its prevalence by Herodotus, who relates that " it 
is elsewhere customary in cases of death, for those who are most 
nearly affected, to cut off their hair in testimony of sorrow : but the 
Egyptians, who, at other times, have their heads closely shaven, 
suffer the hair on this occasion to grow." * It was also equally 
practised by the Greeks upon the intelligence of any public or pri- 

[;ib. 2, c. 36 ; vide also 1. 6, c. 21. 

122 William F. Daniell, Esq., on the Ethnography of 

vate misfortune, the women clipping their hair short, and the men 
allowing it to grow long ; whereas in their seasons of prosperity the 
reverse happens, the women wearing their hair long, and the men 
close, as stated by Plutarch. In the country now under considera- 
tion, the duration of these indications of mourning are variable, and 
are evidently guided more by the social position of the deceased, and 
the amount of wealth he has accumulated, than other motives. For 
the poorer class of natives and others of limited means, the prescribed 
probation is about six months ; to caboceers and other personages of 
note, one year ; while the mulatto grandees, from their assumption of 
superiority, exact the dedication of two years and upwards to their 
memory. Upon the notification of a death to the inhabitants of the 
town, the relatives, family connections, and other intimate friends, 
assemble together for the object of establishing a custom or feast in 
honour of the departed, the representation of which would rather sug- 
gest to the stranger, on first sight, that he was witnessing some popular 
exhibition of conviviality, than the preliminary scene of lamentation 
and woe. On the day preceding the interment, the populace generally 
congregate around the mansion of the deceased (where the corpse, ela- 
borately adorned in all its paraphernalia of decoration, is exposed to 
view), and these fire off a number of muskets; dances and other 
fantastic evolutions subsequently occur, amid a concert of tomtoms 
and drums, that lend their aid to enliven the spectators. On such 
celebrations, great quantities of rum and other ardent liquors are 
quickly consumed, and intoxication is the usual result, which, if 
the interpretation of the natives be adopted, is solely induced with 
the laudable intention of dispelling the sorrow they then experience 
for the loss of their fellow-citizen. Upon the expiration of three 
weeks, another display of these ceremonies takes place, accompanied 
by the same peculiar exhibitions, after the cessation of which all 
further manifestations of respect on the part of his family and 
friends terminate, the requisite term of public mourning having 
been formally completed. According to the ancient laws of the 
country, the wives and other female relatives, particularly the 
former, are imperatively bound, at the finish of their allotted com- 
memoration, to institute a corresponding custom, of a greater or 
less duration, proportionate to the extent of their resources. These 
rites ostensibly appear to have been established for the purpose of 
religiously enforcing the observance of those obligations due to the 
memory of the dead, to denote the dissolution of all prior ties or 
alliances, and also to shew that the females are at liberty to form 
new engagements (unless claimed by the succeeding family heritor), 
or enter into other matrimonial schemes as they find most conducive 
to their interest. With reference to the men, a compliance with 
these practices is less strictly exacted, and, therefore, such are not 
often prolonged beyond the brief interval of a few weeks or months 
as the case may be. 

Akkrah and Adampe, Gold Coast ', Africa. 123 

Pawns, or other individuals who die heavily in debt, are denied the 
rights of sepulture ; and unless some previous arrangement has been 
made with the creditor, are exposed on an elevated platform on the 
outskirts of the town, enshrouded by mats or enclosed in boxes, since 
the interment of the corpse would render his family liable for the 
payment of those bonds which the deceased had contracted when 
living. A similar interdict is said to exist in Kumasse and other 
Ashante towns. 

It is a somewhat singular fact, that among the ancient Egyptians 
an edict almost identical constituted one of the fundamental clauses 
promulgated in their judicial code for the regulation of commercial 
affairs. Herodotus asserts, that it was first enacted by Asychis, a 
king who merited the eulogium of being an illustrious benefactor to 
his subjects. The historian remarks that, in his reign " when com- 
merce was checked and injured from the extreme want of money, an 
ordinance passed, that any one might borrow money, giving the body 
of his father as a pledge. By this law the sepulchre of the debtor 
became in the power of the creditor ; for if the debt was not dis- 
charged, he would neither be buried with his family nor in any other 
vault, nor was he suffered to inter one of his descendants." * 

Associated with other peculiar traits of much greater importance 
in former periods than at present, must be mentioned the strange 
decree, which, grounded on the faith of their primitive traditions, 
and the superstitious dread of witchcraft, compels the exhumation 
of the bodies of those people who have been suspected of being too 
intimately concerned with the supernatural influences during their 
lifetime. Natives who have been prematurely cut off, either from 
the inroads of some occasional epidemic, or the ordinary maladies 
of the season, are frequently supposed to become endowed with the 
potent prerogative of generating disease and destroying life ; hence 
it is not an uncommon occurrence, when two or three members of 
the same family die in succession, to attribute their departure to the 
agency of the first sufferer or sufferers, the corpses of which, after 
satisfactory evidence has been adduced, are summarily removed 
from their houses within the sanctuary of which they had been in- 
terred, are ignominiously burned on the outskirts of the town, and 
their ashes scattered to the winds, amid the mingled groans and 
execrations of the populace. It matters not how innocent the un- 
fortunate persons might have been, nor yet how long they may have 
slept in the calm tranquillity of the grave. The voice of public opinion 
is unanimous ; they are branded with the stigma of posthumous 
murderers, and the violation of those hallowed repositories in which 
they rest is imperiously demanded, and the destruction of their frail 

* Lib. 2, c. 136. 

124 William F. Daniell, Esq., on the Ethnography of 

contents accomplished without either dread or compunction. That 
which, under other circumstances, would be estimated as a crime of 
no trivial magnitude, is now proclaimed to be a meritorious deed, by 
the delay or non-performance of which the safety and welfare of the 
whole community are compromised. 

Upon the event of the death of any individual in a distant country, 
though years should have elapsed since its annunciation had tran- 
spired, the relatives and connections, when a fit opportunity pre- 
sents itself, despatch a party in search of the place of interment, 
and they, gathering together the mouldering remnants of mortality, 
return to bury them under the same roof as those of his ancestors. 
This custom, — which appears to resemble a labour of fidelity due to 
the memory of the deceased that his bones should not lie among 
those of strangers, but be blended with those of his family and 
kindred, so that the cherished remembrances and associations en- 
gendered in the past, should not be dissolved in the world to come, 
— has possibly originated from some of those primitive sanatory 
mandates which restricted the burial of the dead within definite 
bounds, or in pursuance to family compacts that exacted a compli- 
ance with certain intramural regulations of immemorial usance. 

Inheritances, fyc. — The law of inheritance, a conspicuous feature 
in the social institutions of many nations of Western Africa, must 
be distinguished as the grand pervading principle on which are 
based the disposition of property and power. This law can only 
be appreciated from the fact, that the consolidation or dispersion of 
family influence, the position and stability of subordinate branches, 
with the control of other kindred interests, are chiefly governed by 
the absolute right of a well-defined grade of relationship, ex- 
clusively derived through the blood on the female side. Divers 
reasons have been assigned for their advocacy of this genealogical 
system ; but those hitherto brought forward have not proved suffi- 
ciently explanatory. No traces respecting its date of adoption or 
traditional introduction can be ascertained ; for all that is known in 
connection with the subject may be comprised in the brief reply, 
that their ancestors transferred it from father to son, from such an 
early age that its source has long been lost in the mists of antiquity. 
Probably, among the more feasible arguments advanced in support 
of its tolerance, is that which refers to the woman the peculiar 
privilege of transmitting the family blood in a less uncertain stream 
from one person to another ; so that, in its descent, it never could 
be entirely eradicated by an admixture with that from other chan- 
nels ; for, whatever marriages might be contracted by the mother 
or her female descendants, even from one generation to another in a 
continuous series, still there would always remain a sufficiency to 
ensure the original characteristics of her progenitors from being 
destroyed. Again, in further confirmation of these views, it has 

Akkrah and Adampe, Gold Coast, Africa. 125 

been asserted, that should the wife be guilty of any criminal inter- 
course with other parties, the same observations would apply with 
equal precision, inasmuch as the offspring must, at least on the ma- 
ternal side, enjoy no inconsiderable portion of the ancestral lineage. 
With the husband or male, on the contrary, they remark, that after 
a few generations the blood becomes progressively diverted into other 
courses, and, proceeding downwards, is ultimately absorbed into the 
families of those females to which they have been allied. 

It is the scrupulous regard paid to these fundamental distinctions 
of consanguinity, that also determines the choice and elevation of the 
royal aspirants who may be called to occupy the Ashante throne. 

Upon the death of any individual, his property invariably de- 
scends to his brothers and sisters in direct rotation, and not to his 
issue, as is the custom in more civilized communities. Should no 
brothers exist, the eldest sister succeeds in full, and subsequently 
her children, notwithstanding all her predecessors may have left 
large progenies behind them. It may therefore be considered as a 
general axiom, that the son seldom, if ever, inherits the estate of his 
father, which, from a deficiency in the proper collateral kindred, 
passes to the nephew or niece by the next sister's side. The only 
deviations from this rule are when the man has no other heir by any 
of his female relatives ; under these circumstances, the first-born male 
not only comes into possession of his father's but even his uncle's 
wealth, should their decease have preceded that of his parent. Of 
course it is clearly understood that the son always obtains the effects 
and valuables of his mother. But when an inhabitant dies without 
relatives to demand his inheritance, the oldest slave is commonly 
selected as the representative to supply this void. Several percep- 
tible modifications of this law have, however, been effected within a 
few recent years, in consequence of the promiscuous alliances of 
Europeans and their descendants with the aboriginal women. These 
rules of inheritance will perhaps not inaptly be explained by the 
following illustration : — Should a freeman, for instance, have sexual 
communion with a female slave, and conception take place, the fruit 
of it is born in bondage, and, like its mother, is the property of her 
owner ; but should a smilar result follow where the father is a 
slave and the woman free, the offspring belongs to the mother, and, 
like herself, is equally free, since it partakes of the same recognised 
condition, and is endowed with full rights and immunities as if its 
birth had occurred under the most benignant auspices. 

After the interment of the corpse, the next of kin, in the grada- 
tion previously assigned, assumes the guardianship of the family in- 
terests, by virtue of which he not only acquires the patrimony of the 
defunct, but an undisputed right over his wives, children, and slaves, 
the former being for the most part superadded to his own establish- 
ment if the heritor be a man, while the two latter become incorpo- 

126 William F. Daniell, Esq., on the Ethnography of 

rated as component portions of his household. Over the sons and 
daughters, therefore, he is supposed to exercise all the functions and 
prerogatives of a parent, and in this capacity to administer to their 
wants, superintend their conduct, and determine their future settle- 
ment in life ; and they in return are bound to yield him the full ex- 
tent of their services, and to pay him that amount of submission, 
deference, and respect which is due to the position he fills. As their 
support and maintenance are solely derivable from the relative in 
charge, if it may be so expressed, during the period of their servi- 
tude, and implicit obedience required in exchange, it necessarily en- 
sues that their treatment is in a great measure guided by the degree 
of subserviency rendered ; so that, in fact, until their arrival at the 
age of maturity, they gradually degenerate into mere dependents 
upon his bounty, and are compelled, in compliance with his man- 
dates, to perform such menial and other debasing avocations as he 
may choose to delegate to them. 

Division of Time, fyc. — In the computation of time they rarely 
adhere to the systems of more enlightened nations, by the sub- 
division of the year into a given number of moons or months, but 
rather prefer the adoption of a more primitive formula, derived from 
the observance of various climatic changes, the rotation of seasons, 
and other physical phenomena, and it is chiefly by such simple 
means that not only these but other tribes in Western Africa, are 
influenced in the regulation of their year; and it is this distribution 
alone that constitutes the fundamental principles on which these 
peculiar arrangements are based. Conformably to the established 
usages of each country, deviations and distinctions in their primary 
division are of common occurrence, and such variations are to be 
attributed more to a relaxed or stricter classification of climatorial 
agencies than from any artificial distinctions suggested by them- 
selves, since an analytic examination into their respective merits would 
unquestionably point out that the majority, if not the whole, come 
under one prescriptive rule of formation, and proceed from the same 
definite basis as those in general prevalence throughout other coun- 
tries on the African continent. In Akkrah, and the circumjacent 
districts, the year has been partitioned into three grand seasons, re- 
ferable to the preceding mode ; and these again, in some localities, 
seem to have been divided into still minor fractions. As consider- 
able doubt has been expressed in relation to the latter, it is unneces- 
sary for me to dilate further upon the subject. The designations of 
the primary seasons are thus annexed : 

Summer. Boo'ornah. Mar. April, May, June, July, Aug. 

Second Summer. G'boh. September, October, and November. 

( Arrab-attah, said to \ -p. , T 

Winter. < be derived from the > " j t» J 

I , tj I and lebruary. 

I word Harmattan. J ' 

Akkrah and Adampe, Gold Coast, Africa. 127 

The week consists of seven days, which are separately distinguish- 
ed by appropriate cognomens, apparently corresponding to the num- 
ber of days comprehended in the European calendars, and which 
may also be rendered as follows : — 















Two of these days may be considered as sacred, viz. : — Dhu-foh, 
dedicated to the propitiation of Ni and the River Sakkoom, the 
great national fetish of Akkrah ; and Haughbah, devoted to the mys- 
terious rites of Oeyardo, the dreaded patroness of all married women. 
It is a remarkable fact, when taken in connection with their reli- 
gious duties, that, on the first of these days (Dhu-foh), no fisherman 
dare venture to launch his canoe upon the ocean's surface to gain his 
precarious livelihood, but guardedly abstains from those piscatory pur- 
suits which might betray him or his family into the infringement of 
the superstitious mandates so solemnly enunciated by the priests and 
fetishmen. Similar stringent precautions are equally enjoined on the 
second (Haughbah) ; and though of a somewhat different character, 
are made compulsory on all ranks and sexes, but more exclusively to 
that of the female. Under the supposition that some malign potency 
pervades the surrounding country on this day, more particularly directed 
against the pregnant women, their daily avocations are restricted within 
the walls of their domiciles, no egress being tolerated either for the 
purposes of travelling or other exterior occupations. Not many people 
therefore presume to violate these injunctions by issuing forth early in 
the forenoon, and none resort to their familiar haunts in the markets 
or public thoroughfares, until the prohibition has been withdrawn by 
the well-known sign of a declining sun. In some respects So-ah may 
likewise be appended to the two previous days, owing to its being con- 
secrated to Kaule or the salt-pond fetish, which is one held in much 
less estimation, and therefore, is not entitled to the same amount of 
deference or veneration awarded to the others. The celebration of 
these religious obligations differ more or less as to their day of ful- 
filment in the various towns where such traditional forms of worship 
are systematically maintained. 

Currency, fyc. — The currency of the Gold Coast is represented by 
the Indian cowrie {Cyprcea moneta) a small shell originally exported 
and carried from the east, and now diffused in vast quantities through- 
out the contiguous inland kingdoms and other central regions of 

128 William F. Daniell, Esq., on the Ethnography of 

Western Africa. For the convenience of transmission or payment, 
they were formerly perforated and strung together in definite num- 
bers, hence the source of their designations into strings and heads. By 
a simple arrangement their fractional division was reduced to a stand- 
ard, and found most beneficially adapted to the wants of the popula- 
tion. The annexed table will prove duly explanatory of their system. 

Number of 

English value. 




£ s. d. 






o o r 

. . . 








1 ounce of gold dust, or 20 




The rate of exchange, when dollars require to be converted into 
cowries, and vice versa, will depend upon their current value at the 
different outports where the requisition is made. Thus, at Cape 
Coast, the dollar is estimated at 4s. 6d., in Akkrah at 5s. currency, 
and in other places along the coast, at its sterling price, 4s. 2d. The 
equivalents therefore to be given in cowries for each, should amount 
to the following. 

f 5s. 


60 strings 


2400 cowries. 

Dollar at 

{ 4s. 6d. 


54 do. 


2160 do. 

4s. 2d. 


50 do. 


2000 do. 

Gold dust, one of the staple articles of commerce exported from 
this tract of African coast, is more plentiful at the Fante towns of 
Annamabo and Cape Coast, than in those of Akkrah. It is brought 
to the former places by the Akim and Ashante traders from their 
own and the circumjacent countries, and has been considered by 
Adams and other European authorities to be much inferior in quality 
to that obtained from Apollonia and Dixcove. A great quantity was 
annually poured into Akkrah for a series of years previous to the 
present date ; but this, from a multiplicity of causes, became gradually 
diminished, and was ultimately diverted into other channels. This 
diminution is to be ascribed to the Ashantes manifesting a preference 
for those markets in which were exhibited for choice a richer assort- 
ment of merchandise, better suited to their demands, and from the 
fact that to the eastward of Christiansburg little or no gold could 
be purchased, owing to the soil being less fertile in those auriferous 
depositions than the surface of various localities in the inland and 
maritime provinces of the west. The gold offered for sale or barter, 
is ordinarily adulterated according to the ingenuity of the vendor or 
inexperience of the buyer. These adulterations comprise copper or 
brass filings, pieces of impure ore, micaceous earths, and granular 
alloys of silver, and other analogous substances calculated to deceive 

Akkrah and Adampe, Gold Coast, Africa. 


the eye. They, however, are detected without trouble or difficulty, 
under the customary supervision of a native personage, professionally 
denominated a gold-taker, whose services are specially retained in 
mercantile establishments for this object. European factors regu- 
late their purchases and computations by its artificial division into 
ackies and ounces, of which sixteen of the former, valued respectively 
at five shillings, constitutes the ounce, that again being equal to four 
pounds currency. The country people in their multifarious trading 
speculations, are subject to a constant fluctuation of prices produced 
by the interchange of commodities among the various tribes with whom 
they come in contact. As these comprehend individuals in every 
sphere of life, an enlargement of the scale of equivalents in gold dust 
became requisite, and has been fully accomplished by the Fante and 
and Ashante traders, by their minute subdivision and combination 
of the ounce into a minor variety of terms, each of which has its 
relative value affixed. This pecuniary method of valuation so far 
suffices for the mutual accommodation of all parties engaged in traffic, 
and has implicitly guided hitherto the inhabitants of Akkrah, 
Adampe, and the more eastern nations in their commercial transac- 
tions. It is somewhat remarkable, that the native appellation of 
Seekah is known not only throughout every portion of the Gold 
Coast, but in Popo, Dahomey, and the distant regions of Yorruba. 
The following tables of the gold currency of the Fante and Ashante 
nations compiled by the late Mr M'Lean, are equally adopted by the 
people of Akkrah and Adampe, and the accuracy of which may be suf- 
ficiently guaranteed by the well-known experience of their author. 

Table I. — Fante Currency. 

Names of Weights. 



jight in 


Names of Weights. 


eight in 


& s. d. 

£, s. d. 

1 Pessua .... 



Essien .... 


1 10 

Simpoah .... 



Acandjua . . . 


1 15 

Takufan .... 







Kokua .... 





2 5 

■ Taku 



Sua-ne-sul . . . 


3 7 6 

Suafan .... 


4 2 

Djuaraien . . . 



Meaton (or Girifan) 



Essuanu .... 



4 10 



8 4 





Agiratjwi (or Gird) 



Essuasan . . 



6 15 




Bendah . 






Perigwan . . . 




! Perisul . . . .... 



Entenu . . . . 




VOL. LIII. NO. CV. — JULY 1852. 


Prof. E. Forbes on the supposed Analogy between the 

Table II. — Ashante Currency. 

Names of Weights. 


eight in 


Names of Weights. 

Weight in 
oz. ackies. 



s. d. 

£ s. d. 

Pessua .... 


o on 

Insuansan . . . 


11 8 

Damba . . 


o n 

Bodomu . 


12 6 

Takufan . . 






Taku . . . 


1 h 



17 6 



1 3 

Sul . 


12 6 



1 10* 




Suafan . . 


3 9 



1 10 



4 7 

Djua . 


1 15 






1 19 2 


l T Vth 

5 5 

Esua . 


2 5 



5 10 



3 7 6 



6 8 




4 10 

Sua . . . 


7 6 

Essua- san 



6 15 



9 2 





Brofu . . 







Agiratj wi . . 


10 10 

Entenu . 




N.B. — An ackie is equal to 8 Ashante takus, and to 6 Fante takus. 
(To be concluded in our next Number.) 

On the supposed analogy between the Life of an Individual and 
the Duration of a Species. By Edward Forbes, Esq., 
F.R.S., &c. Communicated by the Author.* 

In Natural History and Geology a clear understanding of 
the relations of Individual, Species, and Genus to Geological 
Time and Geographical Space is of essential importance. 
Much, however, of what is generally received concerning 
these relations will scarcely bear close investigation. Among 
questionable, though popular notions upon this subject the 
lecturer would place the belief that the term of duration of 
a species is comparable and of the same kind with that of 
the life of an individual. 

The successive phases in the complete existence of an 
individual are, Birth, Youth, Maturity, Decline, and Decay, 
terminating in Death. Whether we regard an individual as 

* Read before the Floyal Institution of Great Britain on 7th May 1852. 

Life of an Individual and the Duration of a Species. 131 

a single self-existing organism, however produced, or extend 
it to the series of organisms, combined or independent, all 
being products of a single ovum, its term of duration can be 
abbreviated but not prolonged indefinitely, nor can the several 
phases of its existence be repeated. Conditions may arrest 
or hasten maturity, or prematurely destroy, but cannot, how- 
ever favourable, reproduce a second maturity after decline 
has commenced. 

Now, it is believed by many that a species (using the term 
in the sense of an assemblage of individuals presenting cer- 
tain constant characters in common, and derived from one 
original protoplast or stock) passes through a series of phases 
comparable with those which succeed each other in definite 
order during the life of a single individual, — that it has its 
epochs of origin, of maturity, of decline, and of extinction, 
dependent upon the laws of an inherent vitality. 

If this notion be true, the theory of Geology will be pro- 
portionately affected ; since in this case the duration of 
species must be regarded as only influenced, not determined, 
by the physical conditions among which they are placed ;— 
and, thus, species should characterise epochs or sections of 
time, independent of all physical changes and modifying 
influences short of those which are absolutely destructive. 
Now, geological epochs, as at present understood, are defined 
by peculiar assemblages of species, and the amount of change 
in the organic contents of proximate formations or strata is 
usually accepted as a measure of the extent of the disturb- 
ances that affect them. Yet this latter inference, involving 
as it does the supposition that the spread and continuity of 
species in time is dependent upon physical influences, is 
adverse to the notion of a Life of a Species, as stated above. 
If we seek for the origin of this notion we shall find that 
is has two sources, the one direct, the other indirect. It is 
not an induction, nor pretended to be, but an hypothesis as- 
sumed through apparent analogies. Its first and principal 
source may be discovered in the comparison suggested by 
certain necessary phases in the duration of the species with 
others in the life of an individual, such as, each has its com- 

I 2 

132 Prof. B. Forbes on the supposed Analogy between the 

mencement, and each has its cessation. Geological research 
has made known to us that prior to certain points in time 
certain species did not exist, and that after certain points in 
time certain species ceased to be. The commencement of a 
species has been compared with Birth, the extinction with 
Death. Again, many species can be shewn to have had an 
epoch of maximum development in time. This has been 
compared with the maturity of the individual. 

Between the birth of an individual and the commencement 
of a species in the first appearance of its protoplast, the ana- 
logy is more apparent than real. We know how the former 
phenomenon takes place, but we have no knowledge of the 

Between the maturity of the individual and the maximum 
development of a species there is no true analogy, since the 
latter can easily be proved to be entirely dependent on the 
combination of favouring conditions, and during the period 
of duration of a species there may be two or more epochs of 
great or even equal development, and two or more epochs of 
decline alternating with epochs of prosperity. The epoch of 
maximum of a species may also occur during any period in 
its history short of the first stage. Geological and geogra- 
phical research equally shew that the flourishing of a species 
is invariably coincident with the presence of favouring, and 
its decline with that of unfavourable conditions. Hence there 
is no analogy between the single and definite phase of ma- 
turity of the individual and the variable and sometimes often 
repeated epochs of luxuriant development in the duration of 
a species. 

Between the death of the individual and the extinction of 
a species there is an analogy only when the former event 
occurs prematurely, through the influence of destroying con- 
ditions. But in their absence, an individual after its period 
of vitality has been completed must necessarily die ; whereas 
we have no right to assume that such would be the fate of a 
species so circumstanced, since in every case where we can, 
either geologically or geographically, trace a species to its 
local or general extinction, we can connect the fact of its 
disappearance with the evidences of physical changes. 

Life of an Individual and the Duration of a Species. 133 

[The lecturer illustrated these points by diagrams and 
special demonstrations, selecting for explanation two local 
cases, the one marine and the other fresh water ; the former 
taken from the geological phenomena of Culver cliff and the 
neighbouring bays in the Isle of Wight, of which a beautiful 
and original model had been communicated by Captain Ibbet- 
son for the purpose ; and the latter from his own recent re- 
searches (unpublished) on the succession of organic remains 
in the Purbeck strata of Dorsetshire, conducted as part of 
the labours of the Geological Survey of Great Britain.] 

The second and more indirect source of the notion of the 
life of a species may be traced in apparent analogies, half- 
perceived, between the centralisation of generic groups in 
time and space, and the limited duration of both species and 
individual. But in this case ideas are compared which are 
altogether and essentially distinct. 

The nature of this distinction is expressed among the fol- 
lowing propositions, in which an attempt is made to contrast 
the respective relations of individual^ species, and genus to 
Geological time and Geographical space. 

A. The individual, whether we restrict the word to the 
single organism, however produced — or extend it to the series 
of organisms, combined or independent, all being products 
of a single ovum — has but a limited and unique existence in 
time, which, short as it must be, can be shortened by the 
influence of unfavourable conditions, but which no combination 
of favouring circumstances can prolong beyond the term of 
life allotted to it according to its kind. 

B. The species, whether we restrict the term to assemblages 
of individuals resembling each other in certain constant cha- 
racters, or hold, in addition, the hypothesis (warranted, as 
might be shewn from experience and experiment), that be- 
tween all the members of such an assemblage there is the 
relationship of family, the relationship of descent, and con- 
sequently that they are all the descendents of one first stock 
or protoplast — (how that protoplast appeared is not part of 
the question) — is like the individual, in so much as its re- 
lations to time are unique: once destroyed, it never reappears. 

But (and this is the point of the view now advocated), 

134 Professor E. Forbes on Species. 

unlike the individual, it is continued indefinitely so long as 
conditions favourable to its diffusion and prosperity — that is 
to say, so long as conditions favourable to the production and 
sustenance of the individual representatives or elements are 
continued coincidently with its existence. 

[No amount of favouring conditions can recal a species 
once destroyed. On this conclusion, founded upon all facts 
hitherto observed in palaeontology, the value of the application 
of Natural History to Geological science mainly depends.] 

C. The genus, in whatever degree of extension we use the 
term, so long as we apply it to an assemblage of species 
intimately related to each other in common and important 
features of organisation, appears distinctly to exhibit the 
phenomenon of centralization in both time and space, though 
with a difference, since it would seem that each genus has a 
unique centre or area of development in time, but in geogra- 
phical space may present more centres than one. 

a. An individual is a positive reality. 

b. A species is a relative reality. 

c. A genus is an abstraction — an idea — but an idea im- 
pressed on nature and not arbitrarily dependent on man's con- 

a. An individual is one, 

/3. A species consists of many resulting from one. 

y. A genus consists of more or fewer of the mantes result- 
ing from one linked together not by a relationship of descent, 
but by an affinity dependent on a Divine idea. 

a. An individual cannot manifest itself in two places at 
once ; it has no extension in space ; its relations are entirely 
with time, but the possible duration of its existence is regu- 
lated by the law of its inherent vitality. 

b. A species has correspondent and exactly analogous re- 
lations with time and space — the duration of its existence as 
well as its geographical extension is entirely regulated by 
physical conditions. 

c. A genus has dissimilar or only partially comparable re- 
lations with time and space, and occupies areas in both, having 
only partial relations to physical conditions. 

The investigations of these distinctions and relations form 

Lectures on the Results of the Great Exhibition. 135 

the subject of a great chapter in the philosophy of Natural 
History. That philosophy contemplates the laws that regu- 
late the manifestation of life exhibited in organised nature, 
and their dependence upon and connection with the inorganic 
world and its phenomena. None teaches more emphatically 
the difficulties with which man's mind must contend when 
attempting to comprehend the wisdom embodied in the uni- 
verse, and none holds out a more cheering prospect of future 
discovery in fresh and unexpected fields of delightful research. 

Lectures on the Results of the Great Exhibition of 1851, deli- 
vered before the Society of Arts, Manufactures, and Com- 
merce, at the suggestion of His Royal Highness Prince 
Albert, President of the Society* 

The following are the subjects discussed in these Lec- 
tures : 

I. The General Bearing of the Great Exhibition on the 
Progress of Art and Science. By the Rev. W. 
Whewell, 3>.D., F.R.S., Master of Trinity College, 
II. Mining, Quarrying, and Metallurgical Processes and 
Products. By Sir H. T. De la Beche, C.B., F.R.S. 

III. The Haw Materials from the Animal Kingdom. By 
Richard Owen, F.R.S. 

IV. Chemical and Pharmaceutical Processes and Pro- 
ducts. By Jacob Bell, Esq., M.P. 

V. The Chemical Principles involved in the Manufactures 
of the Exhibition, as indicating the Necessity of In- 
dustrial Instruction. By Lyon Playfair, C.B., F.R.S. 

VI. Substances used as Food, illustrated by the Great 
Exhibition. By John Lindley, Ph.D., F.R.S., Pro- 
fessor of Botany in University College, London. 

VII. The Vegetable Substances used in the Arts and 
Manufactures, in relation to Commerce generally. 
By Professor Edward Solly, F.R.S. 

* Published by David Bogue, 86 Fleet Street, London. 1852. 

136 Lectures on the Results of the 

VIII. Machines and Tools for Working in Metal, Wood, and 
other Materials. By the Rev. Robert Willis, M.A., 
F.R.S., Jacksonian Professor in the University of 

IX. Philosophical Instruments and Processes, as repre- 
sented in the Great Exhibition. By James Glaisher, 
Esq., F.R.S. 

X. Civil Engineering and Machinery generally. By 
Henry Hensman, Esq. 

XI. The Arts and Manufactures of India. By Professor 
J. F. Royle, M.D., F.R.S. 

XII. On the Progress of Naval Architecture, as indicating 
the Necessity for Scientific Education, and for the 
Classification of Ships and Steam-Engines ; also on 
Life-Boats. By Captain Washington, R.N., F.R.S. 

Of these interesting lectures, the first or leading, viz. the 
admirable discourse of Dr Whewell, has already appeared 
in this Journal (vide Vol. lii. No. 103, January 1852, p. 1). 
It would have afforded us much pleasure to have gone fully 
into the merits of the other lectures, but our limits prevent 
this. The following extracts from some of these lectures 
will, however, we think, enable our readers to judge of the 
kind of information they afford. 

I. — Sir Henry De la Beche. 

1. Amount of British Iron. — The Exhibition may be said to 
have given rise to the most complete view of the iron produce of 
this country which we possess. Mr Samuel Blackwell, himself an 
ironmaster, accompanied the collection of iron ores by a statement 
of great value. He estimates the gross annual production of iron 
in Great Britain to be now upwards of 2,500,000 tons. Of this 
quantity, South Wales furnishes 700,000 tons ; South Stafford- 
shire (including Worcestershire), 600,000 tons : and Scotland 
600,000 tons. The remainder is divided among the various 
smaller districts. The iron of England and Wales was produced 
by 336 furnaces in blast in 1850. Though a considerable quan- 
tity of British iron is exported, a very large proportion remains to 
be variously employed in our own industry. 

2. Desilverising of Lead. — As to lead, the illustrations were 
chiefly British. There was an excellent exhibition of Pattin- 
son's important process for desilverising that metal — a process 

Great Exhibition of 1851. 137 

which has been of such service to lead-mining generally, rendering 
many lead-mines workable with profit which must otherwise have 
been abandoned. The chief ore whence lead is extracted is that 
known as galena, or the sulphuret of lead, furnishing from seventy- 
five to eighty-three parts of the metal according to purity. It 
usually, though not always, contains silver in variable propor- 
tions. Upon the quantity of silver often depends the profitable 
raising of the ore. Previous to the invention of Mr Pattinson (of 
Newcastle-upon-Tyne), about twenty ounces of silver in the ton 
of lead were required to render the extraction of that metal worth 
the cost ; since then as little as three and four ounces in the ton of 
lead will repay extraction. Now, as so many ores contain small 
quantities only of silver, the importance of the process is evident. 
In a scientific point of view it is one of much interest, as it consists 
in so conducting the work that portions of the lead can crystallise, 
by which the silver becomes excluded, in the manner in which, 
in many crystallising processes, foreign substances are excluded 
during crystallisation. * Thus, by degrees, a mass of mixed lead 
and silver is left, extremely rich in the latter. When this richness 
in silver arrives at the point desired, that metal is extracted in the 
usual manner by cupellation. The lead-smelting at the Allenhead's 
mines, and at the Wanlockhead Hills, Dumfriesshire, both excel- 
lently displayed, are both founded on Pattinson's process. While 
touching on the Wanlockhead Hills exhibition, we should not 
pass over the arrangements by which the fumes from the furnace 
are prevented from escape, and from damage to the surrounding 
country, while lead, to the amount of thirty-three per cent, from 
the deposits or " fume'' is obtained. 

3. Plumbago. — The importance of plumbago for the arts and for 
crucibles is well known. After the Borrowdale mines, Cumber- 
land, were somewhat exhausted, it became important, for that 
variety of plumbago employed in arts, to obtain some substitute ; 
and varieties of compounds were invented, but nothing succeeded 
so well as the compressing process presented by Mr Brockedon, of 
which illustrations were in the Exhibition. By this process much 
of the Borrowdale plumbago dust has been utilised with advan- 
tage. It, or any other good plumbago, is ground into fine pow- 
der, placed in packets, and then receives a pressure equal to about 
5000 tons. To prevent the injurious effect of disseminated air in 
the packets of fine powder, it is extracted by means of an air- 
pump, and thus the particles themselves can be brought into close 
juxtaposition and forced to cohere. Of the application of plumbago 
to crucibles there were several examples, some well known for their 

II. Professor Owen. 

1. Geology of the Sheep. — The recent progress of palae ontology, 

138 Lectures on the Results of the 

or the science of fossil organic remains, remarkable for its unprece- 
dented rapidity, adds a new element to the elucidation of this 
question, which was so ably discussed by Buffon and the naturalists 
of the last century. At present, however, the evidence which 
palaeontology yields is of the negative kind. No unequivocal 
fossil remains of the sheep have yet been found in the bone caves, 
the drift, or the more tranquil stratified newer pliocene deposits, 
so associated with the fossil bones of oxen, wild boar, wolves, 
foxes, otters, beavers, &c, as to indicate the coevality of the sheep 
with those species, or in such an altered state as to indicate them 
to have been of equal antiquity. I have had my attention par- 
ticularly directed to this point, in collecting evidence for a " His- 
tory of our British Fossil Mammalia." Wherever the truly 
characteristic parts, viz., the bony cores of the horns, have been 
found associated with jaws, teeth, and other parts of the skeleton 
of a ruminant, corresponding in size and other characters with 
those of the goat and sheep, in the formations of the newer plio- 
cene period, such supports of the horns have proved to be those of 
the goat.* No fossil horn-core of a sheep has yet been anywhere 
discovered ; and so far as this negative evidence goes, we may 
infer that the sheep is not geologically more ancient than man ; 
that it is not a native of Europe, but has been introduced by the 
tribes who carried hither the germs of civilisation in their migra- 
tions westward from Asia. 

2. Baleen. — I have next to speak of a substance which, though 
commonly called " whalebone," has nothing of the nature of bone 
in it ; but it is an albuminous tissue, nearly allied to hair and 
bristles, both in its chemical and vital properties, and its mode of 

Of all the creatures which man has subdued for his advantage 
and use, that which surpasses every other animal in bulk, and which 
lives in an element unfitted for man's existence, might be supposed 
to be the last that he would have the audacity to attack, or the 
power to overcome. The great whales, that " tempest the ocean," 
are able, as many instances — and a very recent one — have shewn, 
to stave in the bottom of a ship by a blow of their muzzle, and 
crack a boat by a nip of their jaws, as easily as we would a nut — 
" Si sua robora norint!" If they did but know their strength, 
and how to use it, pursuit would be in vain, and whales would be- 
come the most dreaded, instead of the most coveted, of the deni- 
zens of the deep. 

* A characteristic fossil of this kind, found associated with remains of the 
Mammoth and leptorine rhinoceros in the newer fresh-water pliocene of 
Walton, in Kssox, is figured in my " History of British Fossil Mammalia," 
p. 489, cut 204. 

Great Exhibition of 1851. 139 

The cetaceans, which afford the whalebone, or, more properly, 
baleen plates, are of a more timid nature than the great sperm 
whales, which commonly cause the catastrophes alluded to : they 
have no teeth, but in their place they have substitutes, in the form 
of horny plates, ending in a fringe of bristles, — a peculiarity first 
pointed out by Aristotle.* Of these plates, properly called " ba- 
leen," the largest, which are of an equilateral triangular form, are 
arranged in a single longitudinal series on each side of the upper 
jaw, situated pretty close to each other, depending vertically from 
the jaw, with their flat surfaces looking backwards and forwards, 
and their unattached margins outwards and inwards, the direction 
of their interspaces being nearly transverse to the axis of the 
skull. The smaller subsidiary plates are arranged in oblique series, 
internal to the marginal ones. The base of each plate is hollow, 
and is fixed upon a pulp developed from a vascular gum, which 
is attached to a broad and shallow depression occupying the whole 
of the palatal surface of the maxillary and of the anterior part 
of the palatine bones. The base of each marginal plate is the 
smallest of the three sides of the triangle ; it is unequally imbed- 
ded in a compact subelastic substance, which is so much deeper 
on the outer than on the inner side, as in the new-born whale to 
include more than one-half of the outer margin of the baleen plate. 
The form of the baleen-clad roof of the mouth is that of a trans- 
verse arch or vault, against which the convex dorsum of the thick 
and large tongue is applied when the mouth is closed. Each 
plate sends off from its inner and oblique margin the fringe of 
moderately stiff but flexible hairs which projects into the mouth. 
The bases of the baleen plates do not stand far apart from one an- 
other, but the anterior and posterior walls of the pulp fissure are 
respectively confluent with the contiguous divisions of the bases 
of the adjoining plates at their thin and extreme margins, which, 
by this confluence, close the basal end of the interspace of the 
baleen plates, which interspace is occupied more than half way 
down the plate by the cementing substance or gum. Thin layers 
of horn, in like manner, connect the contiguous plates, and may 
be traced, extending in parallel curves with the basal connecting 
layer, across the cementing substance. 

The baleen pulp is situated in a cavity at the base of the plate, like 
the pulp of a tooth ; whilst the external cementing material main- 
tains, both with respect to this pulp, and to the portion of the baleen 
plate which it develops, the same relation as the dental capsule 

* The passage occurs in the 12th chapter of the 3d book of the " Historia 
Animalium," and has given rise to much speculation and controversy : — "Mys- 
ticetus etiam pilos in ore intus habet vice dentium suillis setis similes." To a 
person looking into the mouth of a stranded whale, the concavity of the palate 
would appear to be beset with coarse hair. The species of Balcenoptera, which 
frequents the Mediterranean, might have afforded to the father of zoology the 
subject of his comparison. 

140 Lectures on the Results of the 

bears to the tooth. According to these analogies, it must follow 
that the only central fibrous or tubular portion of the baleen plate 
is formed, like the dentine, by the basal pulp, and that the base of 
the plate is not only fixed in its place by the cementing substance 
or capsule, but must also receive an accession of horny material 
from it. 

The baleen plates are smallest at the two extremities of the 
series ; in the southern whale {Balcena Australis) they rapidly in- 
crease in length to the thirtieth, then very gradually increase in 
length to about the one hundred and fortieth ; from this they as gra- 
dually diminish to the one hundred and sixtieth plate, and thence 
rapidly slope away to the same small size as that with which the 
series commenced. Besides the external, and, as they may be 
termed, the normal plates, which have just been described, there 
are developed from the inner part of the palatal gum, in the 
Balcena Australis, a series of smaller fringed processes, progres- 
sively decreasing in size as they recede from the large external 
plates ; the small plates clothe the middle region of the palate 
with a finer kind of hair, against which the surface of the tongue 
more immediately rests ; they are also arranged in longitudinal 
series, which, however, are not parallel with the external one, but 
pass from the inner margin of that series in oblique lines inwards 
and backwards. 

In the great northern whale, (Balcena mysticetus), the baleen 
plates which succeed the large ones of the outer row are more nu- 
merous, and are relatively longer and larger than in the Balcena 
Australis. Mr Scoresby, who, in his account of the Balcena mys- 
ticetus, notices only the marginal plates, states that they are 
about two hundred in number on each side ; the largest are from 
ten to fourteen feet, very rarely fifteen feet in length, and about a 
foot in breadth at their base. These plates are overlapped and 
concealed by the under lip when the mouth is shut. In the 
Balcenopterce, or fin-backed whales, the baleen processes, internal 
to the marginal plates, are fewer and smaller than in the true 
whales (Balcence.) The marginal plates are more numerous, ex- 
ceeding three hundred on each side ; they are broader in propor- 
tion to their length, and much smaller in proportion to the entire 
animal ; they are also more bent in the direction transverse to 
their long axis. 

Each plate of the baleen consists of a central coarse fibrous 
substance, and an exterior compact fibrous layer ; but this reaches 
to a certain extent only, beyond which the central part projects in 
the form of the fringe of bristles. The chemical basis of baleen, 
according to the experienced Professor Brande, is albumen, har- 
dened by a small proportion of phosphate of lime.* 

* " For the microscopical characters, and other particulars of the haleen plates, 
I must refer to my Od<intoarni>hy, vol. i., p. 311.'" 

Great Exhibition o/1851. 141 

The final purpose of this singular armature of the upper jaw of 
the great whales, is to secure the capture and retention of the 
small floating molluscs and crustaceans, which serve principally 
as their food. When the capacious mouth is opened, the water 
rushes in, and is strained through the fringed surface of the roof 
and sides, whilst the small animals are retained, bruised against 
the stiff bristled margins of the plates, and swallowed. 

Baleen, or whalebone, from its tenacity, flexibility, elasticity, 
compactness, and lightness, is applied to a great variety of useful 
purposes. These were well exemplified in the collection exhibited 
under No. 103, by Mr Henry Horan, which shewed well-selected 
examples of whalebone plates from the Arctic whale (Balcena mys- 
ticetus), which yields the largest and best kind ; from the Antarctic ■ 
whale (Balcena Australis), which affords the second best kind; and 
from the great finner whale (Balamoptera hoops), which affords 
the shortest and coarsest plates. With these examples of the raw 
material, Mr Horan exhibited specimens of the raw material in 
various states of preparation, and numerous and ingenious appli- 
cations of the prepared baleen, dyed of different colours, as, e.g., 
for covering whip-handles, walking-sticks, and telescopes, and in 
the form of shavings for plaiting, like straws, in the construction 
of light hats and bonnets. An excellent and instructive series of 
preparations of baleen was also exhibited by Messrs Westall, in 
which was more especially deserving notice the great variety of 
filamentary modifications of the whalebone material for numerous 
useful applications. Fine blades of whalebone from the Baloena 
mysticetus were exhibited in the United States department, under 
No. 531, by Mr L. Goddard, and characteristic specimens of baleen 
plates from the Balcena Australis had been transmitted by Mr G. 
Moses from Van Diemen's Land. 

3. Ivory. — The same considerations necessarily limited the func- 
tions of our jury, in regard to the tusks of animals presenting the 
modification of dental substances to which the term "ivory" is 
applied. Fine ivory, distinguished by the decussating curved 
lines on the surfaces of transverse fractions or sections of the tusk, 
is peculiar to the African and Asiatic elephants, amongst existing 
quadrupeds ; and the best is obtained from the wild individuals ; 
domestication of the elephant, in India at least, having been 
attended usually by deterioration of the length and quality of the 

The finest specimens of elephant tusks sent to the Great Ex- 
hibition were a pair weighing 325 pounds, from the Elephas 
Africanus, obtained from an animal killed near the newly- dis- 
covered Lake Ngami, in South Africa. Each tusk measured 8 
feet 6 inches in length, and 22 inches in basal circumference. A 
single tusk weighing 110 pounds, from the same locality, was 

142 Lectures on the Results of the 

associated with them. These specimens were exhibited by Mr 
Joseph Cawwood. 

Messrs Fauntleroy and Sons exhibited an instructive collection 
of elephants' tusks in No. 135. The largest of these was also 
from the African elephant, and weighed 139 pounds. Varieties 
of tusks were exhibited from the Gold Coast, the Gaboon River, 
Zanzebar, the Cape of Good Hope, Angola, Alexandria, Ceylon, 
and the East Indies. Of the tusks which possess a dense texture, 
but have not the engine-turn markings of true ivory, Messrs Faun- 
tleroy exhibit those of the narwhal, the walrus, and the hippo- 
potamus; and the Jury regarded this instructive collection as 
deserving Honourable Mention. 

Fine tusks of the Ceylon variety of elephants were shewn in 
the collection from that island ; and several examples of the con- 
tinental Asiatic kinds were exhibited in the Indian departments. 
Amongst the tusks of the Siamese elephants was one which 
weighed 100 pounds, and shewed a fine white compact kind of ivory. 

4. Feathers and Down. — The most beautiful, the most complex, 
and the most highly elaborated of all the coverings of animals, 
due to developments of the epidermal system, is the plumage of 
birds. Well might the eloquent Paley say — " Every feather is a 
mechanical wonder. Their disposition — all inclined backward ; 
the down about the stem ; the overlapping of their tips ; their 
different configuration in different parts ; not to mention the va- 
riety of their colours — constitute a vestment for the body so beau- 
tiful, and so appropriate to the life which the animal has to lead, 
as that, I think, we should have had no conception of anything 
equally perfect, if we had never seen it, or can now imagine any- 
thing more so." 

A feather consists of the " quill,'' the " shaft," and the " vane." 
The vane consists of " barbs" and "barbules." 

The quill is pierced by a lower and an upper orifice, and con- 
tains a series of light, dry, conical capsules, fitted one upon an- 
other, and united together by a central pedicle. 

The shaft is slightly bent ; the concave side is divided into two 
surfaces by a middle longitudinal line continued from the upper 
orifice of the quill ; the convex side is smooth. Both sides are 
covered with a horny material, similar to that of the quill ; and 
they enclose a peculiar white, soft, elastic substance, called the 

The barbs are attached to the sides of the shaft, and consist of 
plates, arranged with their flat sides towards each other, and their 
margins in the direction of the convex and concave sides of the 
feather ; consequently they present considerable resistance to being 
bent out of their plane, although readily yielding to any force 
acting upon them in the direction of the line of the stem. 

Great Exhibition o/1851. 143 

The barbules are given off from either side of the barbs, and are 
sometimes similarly barbed themselves, as may be seen in the 
barbules of the long feathers of the peacock's tail. 

The barbules are commonly short and close set, and curved in 
contrary directions ; so that two adjoining series of barbules inter- 
lock together, and form the mechanism by which the barbs are 
compacted into the close and resisting vane of the quill, or "fea- 
ther," properly so called. When the barbules are long and loose, 
they characterise that form of the feather which is properly called 
a " plume ;" and such are the most valuable products of the 
plumage of birds in a commercial point of view ; as, for example, 
the plumes of the ostrich. 

The lower barbs in every kind of feather are usually loose, 
forming the down, which is increased, in most birds, by what is 
called the " accessory plume." This is usually a small downy 
tuft, but varies in different species, and even in the feathers of 
different parts of the body of the same bird. The value of fea- 
thers, for bed-stuffing, depends upon the proportion of loose soft 
down that enters into their composition ; and as the " accessory 
plume" in the body-feathers of the swan, goose, and duck, is 
almost as long as the feather from which it springs, hence arises 
the commercial value of the feathers of these aquatic birds. 

In the development of plumage, the first covering of the bird is 
a temporary one, consisting of bundles of long loosely-barbed fila- 
ments, which diverge from a small quill, and on their first appear- 
ance are enveloped in a thin sheath, which soon crumbles away 
after being exposed to the atmosphere.* These down feathers are 
succeeded by the true feathers ; to which they bear the same rela- 
tion as wool does to hair, or the temporary to the permanent teeth. 
In most birds, a certain proportion of the down feathers is retained 
with the true feathers, and this proportion is usually greatest in 
aquatic birds. It is most remarkable in the Eider Duck [Anas 
mollis sima), which may be compared with the sheep in regard to 
the quantity and quality of the softer and warmer kind of the epi- 
dermal covering. The down of the eider combines with its pecu- 
liar softness, fineness, and lightness, so great a degree of elasticity, 
that the quantity of this beautiful material which might be com- 
pressed and concealed between the two hands of a man, will serve 
to stuff the coverlet of a bed. 

All the varieties and modifications of the plumage of birds, ser- 
viceable in manufactures, or valued as ornaments, might be com- 
pared and studied with advantage in the Great Exhibition. 

* A good account of the mode of formation of feathers is given in a paper 
by M. F. Cuvier, entitled " Sur le developpement des Plumes," in the " Me- 
moires du Museum," torn. x. 10 ; or the article " Aves," in the " Cyclopedia of 
Anatomy," may be consulted. 

144 Lectures on the Results of the 

An instructive and comprehensive collection of feathers and 
down, in different states of preparation for bed-stuffing, including 
English goose feathers, Irish goose and mixed feathers, Dantzic 
feathers, Russian goose feathers, and mixed duck feathers, Hudson's 
Bay goose and duck feathers, Russian down and Greenland eider 
down, were exhibited by Messrs Heal & Son. Messrs W. & C. 
Nightingale likewise exhibited an illustrative collection of feathers 
and down, shewing the effects of their mode of purifying feathers 
by steam, without the use of sulphurous gas. 

In the Indian department were shewn white and black ostrich 
plumes ; but these had been imported from Aden. If the ostrich 
ever steps into Asia, it is only a little way into the Arabian side 
of the Isthmus of Suez : the Struthio camelus belongs to a peculiarly 
African genus of the great wingless birds. Tippets, victorines, and 
boas made from the down of the young adjutant- crane (Ciconia ar- 
gala) were exhibited from Commercolly ; and also beautiful white 
feathers of a smaller species of crane from Arrahan. 

5. General Remarks on Materials from the Vegetable and Ani- 
mal Kingdom. — Whatever the animal can afford for food or 
clothing, for our tools, weapons, or ornaments — whatever the 
lower creation can contribute to our wants, our comforts, our pas- 
sions, or our pride, that we sternly exact and take, at all cost to the 
producers. No creature is too bulky or formidable for man's de- 
structive energies — none too minute and insignificant for his keen 
detection and skill of capture. It was ordained from the begin- 
ning that we should be masters and subduers of all inferior ani- 
mals. Let us remember, however, that we ourselves, like the 
creatures we slay, subjugate, and modify, are the results of the 
same Almighty creative will — temporary sojourners here, and co- 
tenants with the worm and the whale of one small planet. In 
the exercise, therefore, of those superior powers that have been in- 
trusted to us, let us ever bear in mind that our responsibilities are 
heightened in proportion. 

III. — Dr Lyon Playfair. 

1. Iron- Smelting. — Let us select the smelting of iron,* as an ex- 
ample of the teachings of chemistry. If practice, unaided by science, 
be sufficient for the prosecution of manufactures, this venerable art 
must be thoroughly matured, and science could scarcely expect to 

* Although the smelting of iron is not strictly within the division of Manu- 
factures, according to the classification, its importance to this country will 
authorise an exception in its favour. 

Great Exhibition of 1851. 145 

be of much use to it in its present state. But while we find much 
to admire in the triumphs of practical experience, there is yet great 
room for the improvement of this art. The cheapness of iron ore, 
and of the coal used in its smelting, has been so great that, regard- 
less of their capital importance to this country, we, like careless 
spendthrifts, use them without thought of the future. 

The mode of smelting iron consists in mixing the ore with lime 
and coal ; the former producing a slag or glass with the impurities 
of the ore, while the coal reduces the oxide of iron to its metallic 
state. Much heat is required in the process of smelting, but the 
cold air blown in, as the blast, lowers the temperature, and com- 
pels the addition of fuel, as a compensation for this reduction. 
Science pointed to this loss, and now the air is heated before being 
introduced to the furnace. The quantity of coal is wonderfully 
economized by this application of science ; for instead of seven tons 
of coal per ton of iron, three tons now suffice, and the amount pro- 
duced in the same time is nearly sixty per cent. Assuredly this 
was a great step in advance. Could science do more ? 

Professor Biinsen, in an inquiry in which I was glad to afford 
him aid, has shewn that she can. We examined the furnaces, in 
each portion of the burning mass, so as fully to expose the opera- 
tions in every part of the blazing structure. This seemingly im- 
possible dissection was accomplished by the simplest means : the 
furnaces are charged from the top, and the materials gradually de- 
scend to the bottom ; with the upper charge a long graduated tube 
was allowed to descend, and the gases streaming from ascertained 
depths were collected and analysed. Their composition betrayed 
with perfect accuracy the nature of the actions at each portion of 
the furnace, and the astonishing fact was elicited, that, in spite of 
the saving produced by the introduction of the hot blast, no less 
than 81 J per cent, of fuel is actually lost, only 18 J per cent, being 
realised. If, in round numbers, we suppose that four- fifths of the fuel 
be thus wasted, no less than 5,400,000 tons are every year thrown 
uselessly into the atmosphere ; this being nearly one-seventh of the 
whole coal annually raised in the United Kingdom. This enor- 
mous amount of fuel escapes in the form of combustible gases, 
capable of being collected and economised ; yet in spite of these 
well-ascertained facts, there are scarcely half-a-dozen furnaces in 
the United Kingdom where this economy is realised by the utili- 
zation of the waste gases of the furnace. 

Large quantities of ammonia are annually lost in iron smelting, 
which might readily be collected. Ammonia is constantly increas- 
ing in value, and each furnace produces and wastes at least 1 cwt. 
of its principal salt daily, equivalent to a considerable money loss. 
With the low price of iron, this subsidiary product is worthy of atten- 
tion. As I write, a Welsh smelter has visited me, to say that he 
has adopted this suggestion with advantageous results. I might 

VOL. LIII. NO. CV. — JULY 1852. K 

116 Lectures on the Results of the 

adduce other improvements introduced by chemistry in the smelt- 
ing process ; but these will suffice to shew you that she has added 
to human power by increasing production, while she has also eco~ 
nomized both the time and the materials employed. 

2. Soap. — Soap is probably not older than the Christian era ; for 
the soap of the Old Testament seems to have been merely alkali. 
Profane history, previous to Christ, does not allude to soap ; and 
in all the detailed descriptions of the bath and of washing, it is 
never mentioned. Pliny describes its manufacture, but ascribes to 
it as singular a use as that given to the potato by Gerarde, who, 
in his "Herbal," assures us that it "is a plant from America, 
which is an excellent thing for making sweet sauces, and also to be 
eaten with sops and wines." So Pliny, in regard to soap, states, that 
its main purpose was to dye the hair yellow, and that men used it for 
this purpose much more than women. Gradually its use became 
more extensive, and its manufacture considerable. Soap generally 
consists of a fatty acid, combined with the alkali of soda. This 
soda was imported from Spain under the name of barilla, itself the 
ashes of plants grown near the sea. As these plants derived their 
soda from the sea, near which they flourished, chemistry, though 
singularly enough in the person of Napoleon Bonaparte, suggested 
that it might be artificially made from sea salt. A process for 
this was perfected, and soda derived from salt has now replaced 
barilla. From 1829 to 1834, the average annual import of barilla 
was 252,000 cwt. ; it is now almost nothing. But besides this 
substitution, the cheapness and comparative purity of the soda 
made from salt is so great, that the manufacture of soap, and con- 
sequently of soda, is enormously increased, and probably exceeds 
ten times the largest quantity of barilla ever imported in one year 
into this country. Its cheapness and excellence have also had a 
prodigious effect on the manufacture of glass. 

3. Perfumery. — Much aid has been given by chemistry to the art 
of perfumery. It is true that soap and perfumery are rather 
rivals, the increase of the former diminishing the use of the latter. 
Costly perfumes, formerly employed as a mask to want of clean- 
liness, are less required now that soap has become a type of civili- 
zation. Perfumers, if they do not occupy whole streets with 
their shops, as they did in ancient Capua, shew more science in 
attaining their perfumes than those of former times. The Jury 
in the Exhibition, or rather two distinguished chemists of that 
Jury, Dr Hoffman and Mr De la Rue, ascertained that some of 
the most delicate perfumes were made by chemical artifice, and 
not, as of old, by distilling them from flowers. The perfume of 
flowers often consists of oils and ethers, which the chemist can 
compound artificially in his laboratory. Commercial enterprise 

Great Exhibition of 1851. 147 

has availed itself of this fact, and sent to the Exhibition, in the 
form of essences, perfumes thus prepared. Singularly enough, 
they are generally derived from substances of intensely disgusting 
odour. A peculiarly fetid oil, termed " fusel oil,'' is formed in 
making brandy and whisky. This fusel oil, distilled with sul- 
phuric acid and acetate of potash, gives the oil of pears. The 
oil of apples is made from the same fusel oil by distillation with 
sulphuric acid and bichromate of potash. The oil of pine apples 
is obtained from a product of the action of putrid cheese on sugar, 
or by making a soap with butter, and distilling it with alcohol 
and sulphuric acid, and is now largely employed in England in 
the preparation of the pine apple ale. Oil of grapes and oil of 
cognac, used to impart the flavour of French cognac to British 
brandy, are little else than fusel oil. The artificial oil of bitter 
almonds, now so largely employed in perfuming soap, and for 
flavouring confectionary, is prepared by the action of nitric acid on 
the fetid oils of gas tar. Many a fair forehead is damped with 
eau de millefleurs, without knowing that its essential ingredient is 
derived from the drainage of cow-houses. The winter green oil, 
imported from New Jersey, being produced from a plant indige- 
nous there, is artificially made from willows and a body procured 
in the distillation of wood. All these are direct modern appli- 
ances of science to an industrial purpose, and imply an acquaint- 
ance with the highest investigations of organic chemistry. Let us 
recollect that the oil of lemons, turpentine, oil of juniper, oil of 
roses, oil of copaiba, oil of rosemary, and many other oils, are 
identical in composition ; and it is not difficult to conceive that 
perfumery may derive still further aid from chemistry. 

IV. — Professor Lindley. 

1. South Australian Wheat. — If we take the subject of wheat, 
which perhaps will be regarded by many as paramount to all others, 
I think it will appear that there are some circumstances connected 
with this Exhibition which particularly deserve to be brought under 
public consideration, and especially one which, although the corn- 
factors in Mark Lane are familiar with it, is by no means a matter 
of universal notoriety — the high character and excellence of the 
wheat that comes to us from our South Australian colonies. 
There is now before us a sample of wheat from Adelaide, for 
which we are indebted to the kindness of Messrs Heath and Bur- 
rows, which is probably the most beautiful specimen of corn that 
has ever been brought to market in any country. It is a white 
wheat, in which every grain appears to be, like every other grain, 
plump, clear- skinned, dry, heavy, and weighing — what may seem 
incredible to those who are only accustomed to common wheat — 
seventy pounds a bushel. And it appears that Adelaide is capable 


148 Lectures on the Results of the 

of yielding vast quantities of corn of this description, which takes 
the lead in the markets of this country over all other white wheat. 

It is very true that from Spain there has come a similar kind 
of wheat of great excellence also, as is seen by this beautiful 
sample from Castile, from the Mayor of Medina del Campo, the 
weight of which is unknown, and not easy to estimate, because 
it is not a clean sample. This is certainly of great excellence 
also ; but, independently of its being the produce of a foreign 
country, it is almost inaccessible to us, and therefore a matter of 
curiosity more than of practical value ; because, owing to the 
difficulty of transport, it cannot at present come into the markets 
of this kingdom. If it could, considering that it sells in Old 
Castile at 24s. a quarter, it is not easy to say what might be the 
effect upon the English market of the introduction of any large 
quantity of it. We find, moreover, that similar quantities of 
wheat, growing in the same rich country of Spain, are vendible at 
much lower rates. 

I have already said, that among the wheats produced at the 
Exhibition, that from our South Australian colonies is the best — . 
that it is much the best. And here let me make a remark on that 
subject. It has been supposed that all we have to do in this 
country, in order to obtain on our English farms wheat of the 
same quality as this magnificent Australian corn, is to procure the 
seed and sow it here. There cannot be a greater mistake. The 
wheat of Australia is no peculiar kind of wheat ; it has no pecu- 
liar constitutional characteristics by which it may be in any way 
distinguished from wheat cultivated in this country ; it is not 
essentially different from the fine wheat which Prince Albert sent 
to the Exhibition, or from others which we grow or sell. Its 
quality is owing to local conditions, that is to say, to the peculiar 
temperature, the brilliant light, the soil, and those other circum- 
stances which characterise the climate of South Australia in which 
it is produced, and therefore there would be no advantage gained 
by introducing this wheat for the purpose of sowing it here. Its 
value consists in what it is in South Australia, not in what it 
would become in England. In reality, the experiment of growing 
such corn has been tried. I myself obtained it some years since 
for the purpose of experiment, and the result was a very inferior 
description of corn, by no means so good as the kinds generally 
cultivated with us. And Messrs Heath and Burrows, in a letter 
which I have received from them this morning, make the same 
remark. They say, " For seed purposes it has been found not at 
all to answer in England ; the crop therefrom being ugly, coarse, 
and bearded." The truth is, as was just observed, the peculiari- 
ties of South Australian wheat are not constitutional, but are de- 
rived from climate and soil. It appears, therefore, that wheat 
may be affected by climate, independently of its constitutional 

Great Exhibition of 1851. 149 

peculiarities, but it" does not follow that wheat is not subject to 
constitutional peculiarities like other plants. There are some kinds 
of wheat which, do what you may with them, will retain a certain 
quality, varying but slightly with the circumstances under which 
they are produced, as, for example, is proved by some samples here, 
especially of Revitt wheat, of a very fine description, exhibited in the 
building by Mr Payne, and which is greatly superior to the ordi- 
nary kinds of Revitt that appear at market.* This clearly shews 
that Revitt wheat of a certain kind and quality is better than 
Revitt wheat of a different kind, both being produced in this coun- 
try ; so that, circumstances being equal, we have a different result, 
owing to some constitutional peculiarity of race. To other ex- 
amples of the kind I cannot at present refer, because time will not 
permit me to dwell upon such points. 

2. Tobacco. — It is not to be disputed that the finest tobacco in 
the world comes, as is generally supposed, from the Havannah ; 
this was demonstrated by the admirably manufactured samples 
exhibited by the house of Cabanas and Carbazal. But there is 
only a limited area in Cuba in which that tobacco is produced ; so 
that whilst the Havannah tobacco may be of excellent quality in 
general, yet it is only that which comes from a certain part which 
is much better than any other. Don Ramon de la Sagra, who 
resided many years in Cuba, and published an important work on 
that island, has stated that this is undoubtedly the fact, — that the 
best Havannah tobacco is the produce of a very small area. The 
consequence is, that this little area is the only place known where 
the finest kind of tobacco can be produced, and we cannot look 
even to Havannah for it with great confidence, inasmuch as it is 
chiefly used in the island, or as presents, and a limited amount 
going into general consumption. Yet we found that the tobacco 
from Trinidad did not appear to be in any way inferior to that 
from Havannah. Whether or not there exist generally in the 
island of Trinidad conditions of soil, and other conditions favour- 
able for eliciting the admirable qualities which the best description 
of Havannah tobacco has, I cannot say ; but, for my own part, I 
entertain no doubt whatever that, in that part of Trinidad from 
whence the tobacco came which was exhibited in the building, a kind 
of leaf quite equal to the best Havannah tobacco might be grown. 
Soil, no doubt, and a variety of circumstances of that kind, have 
much to do with the quality of tobacco ; otherwise we cannot 
account for the varying qualities of the samples produced from 
vnrious countries. This is strikingly shewn by a remarkable cir- 
cumstance : some of the best tobacco sent to the Exhibition came 
from the southern Russian provinces. It was fully equal to the 
best American tobacco, grown in America under favourable cir- 
cumstances ; it was tobacco of the highest class. Yet nobody 

150 Lectures on the Results of the 

could have expected that such would have *been the case with 
Russian-grown tobacco. The fact, however, proved how much 
climate and soil have to do with the quality of tobacco, and that 
the summer climate of some parts of southern Russia is admirably 
fitted for the cultivation of this plant. 

On the other hand, manufacture exercises a great influence over 
the quality of tobacco. In Algiers, where the climate is apparently 
most favourable, the quality is such that nobody could be found 
to go through the punishment (I must so call it) of smoking an 
Algerine cigar. Those cigars were not smokable, because they 
were badly prepared ; for Algiers is a country apparently favour- 
able to the growth of the plant, if proper means Avere taken to 
prepare the leaves. 

Then, again, we found that some English-made cigars, are not 
to be distinguished from Havannah cigars. I would ask any 
gentleman who has the misfortune to smoke, to examine those 
cigars made by Lambert and Butler, of Drury Lane, and to tell 
me whether they are English or foreign — by the look. They are 
not distinguishable by external appearance ; and I may add, that 
the method which has been employed in preparing them renders 
them of very great excellence — of much greater excellence, in fact, 
than many of the cigars imported from Havannah, and paying a 
ten-shilling duty as manufactured tobacco. Now, this is a subject 
of greater importance than at first sight may appear ; for if we 
can succeed in making cigars of such quality in England, we im- 
mediately create a large demand for labour. The preparation of 
cigars is by hand labour, which no machinery can ever supersede ; 
and when we recollect that, in the German Commercial Union, in 
the year 1842, 605,000,000* of cigars were made, it is not neces- 
sary to inquire how much labour was required for that production. 
But none of the Continental cigars were good, except what came 
from Portugal. Those of the German Commercial Union were 
very inferior to the best English-made cigars that were pro- 
duced ; and there is no doubt whatever that it is quite practicable 
to make cigars in this country which shall be undistinguishable 
in appearance, and not very distinguishable in flavour, from any 
except those first-class Havannah cigars which scarcely ever come 
into consumption. It is a matter of considerable importance to 
establish that fact, because it may open the way to the employment 
of poor people, whose physical infirmities render them unfit for 
harder labour. I need not say that cigar-making is very light 

With respect to the Portuguese cigars, I have only this remark 
to make, they were of a very unusual quality. They are, I pre- 
sume, made in Portugal from foreign tobacco — perhaps Brazilian. 

* (S04,898,2OO, according to official returns. 

Great Exhibition of 1851. 151 

They appear as if they had been high-dried. The flavour is un- 
like that of the best cigars we have, and resembles that of high- 
dried snuff. They are very pleasant, smoke exceedingly well, are 
mild, and of excellent flavour ; but not of the same flavour as 
those we are in the habit of getting in this country. Our cigar- 
makers will do well to turn their attention to this kind of manu- 
factured tobacco. 

3. Typha Bread. — There is another very curious substance, for 
specimens of which we are indebted to the kindness of Sir William 
Hooker, who has sent it from the important Museum belonging to the 
Gardens at Kew. These are cakes of typha bread — this from Scinde — 
that from New Zealand — where they are articles of food, prepared 
from the pollen of the common reed, mace, or bulrush of those countries. 
The one which is from Scinde, and which is called there boor or 
booree, is made from the pollen of the flowers of the Typha ele- 
phantina, or elephant grass of the country. The other, which is 
called hunga hunga by the people of New Zealand, is obtained from 
another species of bulrush, called Typha utilis. I believe these are 
the only cases known of the pollen of plants being used for food 
under any circumstances whatever ; and it is not a little curious 
that countries so far apart as Scinde and New Zealand should have 
the same most unusual kind of diet. It is also interesting to know 
that the value attached to this as an article of food is not imaginary ; 
for it appears from the researches of chemists that the pollen of plants 
contains an azotozed matter, which, mixed with the starch existing 
in pollen in great quantities, and with other matters, will give a 
real nutritive value to this curious substance. Whether there is on 
record, in the history of ancient times, anything concerning food 
made from the flowers of bulrushes, I do not know ; but this is certain, 
that the bulrush from Scinde, which yields the cakes standing yonder, 
is probably the same as that from which the basket was made in 
which the infant Moses was placed ; for to this day, in Scinde, bul- 
rushes are woven into baskets, of the very same nature as we may 
suppose them to have been in the days of Moses. 

4. Preservation of Vegetables for long voyages. — Preserved samples 
of white and red cabbages, turnips, Brussels sprouts, and various 
other things, prepared according to Mason's process, were exhibited. 
As to the method of preserving them, it appears to be free from all 
objection. First, it is very cheap ; secondly, as we are led to believe 
by persons in France who are well informed on the subject, it per- 
fectly answers the purpose. The mode of preparing these vegetables 
is shortly as follows : They are dried at a certain temperature (from 
104° to 118°), which is neither so low as to cause them to dry 
slowly, nor so high as to cause them to dry too quickly ; if the last 
happens, they acquire a burnt taste, which destroys their quality. 

152 Lectures on the Besults of the 

They lose from 87 to 89 per cent, of their water, or seven-eighths of 
their original weight, after which they are forcibly pressed into 
cakes and are ready for use. I saw, a year ago, the original of a 
letter from the captain of the Astrolabe, a French vessel of war, 
speaking in the highest terms of the supply of these vegetables for 
the use of that vessel during her voyage. The French navy generally 
mentions them in the most favourable terms ; and no reason appears 
for doubting such statements. The specimens before you are, I 
repeat, seen under unfavourable circumstances. They ought to have 
been kept in tin and protected from the air ; instead of which, they 
have been lying about more than nine months in the Exhibition 
building, where they have been exposed to considerable dampness. 
Yet they are not injuriously affected, although they are absorbing 
moisture, as must necessarily happen in a damp place, and which, 
if it were to continue, would spoil them. Now, I think this is a 
matter of more consequence than it may appear to be, for the fol- 
lowing reason : It is usual to supply the navy with preserved food 
of different kinds ; and I am informed by a distinguished officer of 
the Antarctic expedition under Sir James Ross, that although all the 
preserved meats used on that occasion were excellent, and there was 
not the slightest ground for any complaint of their quality, yet the 
crew became tired of the meat, but were never tired of the vegetables. 
This should shew us that it is not sufficient to supply ship's crews 
with preserved meat, but they should be supplied with vegetables also, 
the means of doing which is now afforded. 

5. Preserved Meats. — Preserved meats are out of favour just 
now. We hear of little except condemned canisters, which the 
Admiralty, unfortunately, have in store. It is the more proper, 
then, to state, that the evidence before the Jury went to shew, that 
it is possible to preserve meat in canisters, without undergoing 
any change, for a great length of time. We had hashed beef, 
which was excellent, dating back to 1836 : we had boiled beef 
fifteen years old, preserved in canisters, and many other speci- 
mens, none of which were changed. It is clear, therefore, that 
the canister process of preserving is good, provided you keep a 
sharp eye on the contractors, and upon those who act under them. 

What is more important than all other preserved provisions, is 
the article to which I must next request attention. A great deal 
of interest was excited when the contents of the Exhibition first 
became known — and it did not diminish afterwards — by a certain 
meat-biscuit, introduced among the American exhibitions from 
Texas, by Mr Gail Borden. We were told that its nutritive pro- 
perties were of a high order : it was said that ten pounds weight of 
it would he sufficient for the subsistence of an active man for thirty 
days ; that it had been used in the American navy, and had been 
found to sustain the strength of the men to whom it had been given 

Great Exhibition of 1 85 1 . 1 53 

in a remarkable degree. Statements were made to us, which have 
since been corroborated, that it would keep perfectly well, without 
change, under disadvantageous circumstances. Colonel Sumner, 
an officer in the United States Dragoons, who had seen it used 
during field operations, says he is sure he could live upon it for 
months, and retain his health and strength. The inventor, he 
says, names five ounces a-day as the quantity for the support of 
a man ; but he (Colonel Sumner) could not use more than four 
ounces, made into soup, with nothing whatever added to it. The sub- 
stance of these statements maybe said to amount to this, that Bor- 
den's meat-biscuit is a material not liable to undergo change, is very 
light, very portable, and extremely nutritious. A specimen, placed 
in the hands of Dr Playfair for examination, was reported by him 
to contain 32 per cent, of flesh-forming principles ; for it is a com- 
position of meat, the essence of meat, and the finest kind of flour. 
Dr Playfair stated that the starch was unchanged ; that conse- 
quently there could have been no putrescence in the meat em- 
ployed in its preparation, and that the biscuit was " in all respects 
excellent.'' It was tasted — I tasted it — the Jury and others tasted 
it ; and we all found nothing in it which the most fastidious per- 
son could complain of : it required salt, or some other condiment, 
as all these preparations do, to make them savoury. This meat- 
biscuit, as I said just now, was reported to be capable of keeping 
well ; and this might well be true, because no foreign matter had 
'been introduced into its composition ; there was no salt to absorb 
moisture, and nothing else to interfere with the property of flour, 
or of essence of meat. These biscuits are prepared by boiling 
down the best fresh beef that can be procured in Texas, and mix- 
ing it in certain proportions with the finest flour that can be there 
obtained. It is stated that the essence of five pounds of good 
meat is estimated to be contained in one pound of biscuit. That 
it is a material of the highest value there can be no doubt — to 
what extent its value may go, nothing but time can decide ; but I 
think I am justified in looking upon it as one of the most import- 
ant substances which the Exhibition has brought to our knowledge. 
When we consider that by this method, in such places as Buenos 
Ayres, animals, which are there of little or no value, instead of 
being destroyed, as they often are, for their bones, may be boiled 
down and mixed with the flour, which all such countries produce, 
and so converted into a substance of such durability that it may 
be preserved with the greatest ease, and sent to distant countries, — 
it seems as if a new means of subsistence was actually offered to 
us. Take the Argentine Republic ; take Australia, and consider 
what they do with their meat there in times of drought, when they 
cannot get rid of it whilst it is fresh — they may boil it down, and 
mix the essence with flour (and we know they have the finest in 
the world), and so prepare a substance that can be preserved for 

154 Lectures on the Results of the 

times when food is not so plentiful, or sent to countries where it is 
always more difficult to procure food. Is not this a very great 
gain ?* 

V. — Professor J. F. Royle, M.D., F.R.S. 

The Indian Collection a basis for Schools of Design. — That I 
may not appear singular, says Professor Royle, especially to people 
in India, in my estimation of the value of these Indian products, I 
would beg, before concluding, to adduce some unconnected and in- 
dependent testimonies. For this I may first refer to the articles 
in The Times, which were distinguished as much by their talent 
as by their discriminative criticism. " Turning to the class, ma- 
nufactured articles, we find the long-established industries of the 
Indian Peninsula asserting their excellence in a manner at once 
characteristic and extraordinary. The same skill in goldsmiths' 
work, in metals, in ivory carving, in pottery, in mosaics, in shawls, 
in muslins, and carpets, w r as attained by those ingenious commu- 
nities which now practise them, ages and ages ago. Yet, in these 
things, which the natives of India have done well from time imme- 
morial, they still remain unsurpassed.'' — (April 25.) And again, 
" Yet, in another point of view, these remarkable and characteristic 
collections have a value that can hardly be overrated. By their 
suggestiveness, the vulgarities in art manufactures, not only of 
England, but of Christendom, may be corrected; and from the- 
carpets, the shawls, the muslins, and the brocades of Asia, and 
from much of its metallic and earthenware products, can be clearly 
traced those invaluable rules of art, a proper definition and recog- 
nition of which form the great desiderata of our more civilised in- 
dustrial systems." — (Times, July 4.) 

I may fitly conclude these quotations with an extract from a 
letter of the Government Committee, on the selection of articles 
for the use of the Schools of Design, addressed by J. C. Melvill, 
Esq., Secretary to the Honourable East India Company : — u We 
have to request that you will acquaint the Court of Directors, 
that, having duly examined the collection exhibited by the Court, 
we have found it to contain, beyond any other department of the 
Exhibition, objects of the highest instructional value to students 
in design, and that we have selected the accompanying list of arti- 
cles from their collection, which we express a hope may be 
secured for the benefit of the Schools." The Committee selected 
about two hundred and fifty. As some belonged to private indi- 
duals, they were able to purchase nearly two hundred articles out 
of the Indian collection, for the use and improvement of the 
Schools of Design in this country. 

* The agency for the sale of meat-biscuit in tliis country, is 2 St Peter's 
Alloy, Cornhill. 

Great Exhibition of 1851. 155 

And we may add that, in the course of his remarks on the fore- 
going lecture of Professor Royle, and on the striking examples of 
Indian art and manufacture, which, by the kindness of the Court 
of Directors of the Hon. East India Company, were exhibited in 
illustration of it, Mr Owen Jones, the chairman, observed, that, 
with all the artists of England with whom he was acquainted, as 
well as with foreign visitors, he had found but one opinion, viz., 
that the Indian and Tunisian articles were the most perfect in de- 
sign of any that appeared in the Exhibition. The opportunity of 
studying them had been " a boon to the whole of Europe." Many 
have been purchased by Government for the use of the Schools of 
Design, and will no doubt be extensively circulated throughout the 
country. But it is to be hoped, said Mr Jones, that they will do 
more than merely teach us to copy the Indian style. If they only 
led to the origination of an Indian style, he would think their in- 
fluence only hurtful. " The time has arrived," he added, " when it 
is generally felt that a change must take place, and we must get rid 
of the causes of obstruction to the art of design which exist in this 
country. Ever since the Reformation, when a separation took 
place between religion and art, England has not had anything like 
a style of her own. In every country which is under the influence 
of a particular religion, there a peculiar style of art is created. 
Such is the case with the Mohammedans, Greeks, and others. 
There now seems to be a general feeling and desire for art, and 
something must be done. I think the Government may be induced 
to assist in forming schools throughout the country on a different 
footing from that on which they are at present established. We 
see in the ornaments and articles from India the works of a people 
who are not allowed by their religion to draw the human form ; 
and it is probable that to this cause we may attribute their great 
success in their ornamental works. Here in Europe we have been 
studying drawing from the human figure, but it has not led us for- 
ward in the art of ornamental design. Although the study of the 
human figure is useful in refining the taste and teaching accurate 
observation, it is a roundabout way of learning to draw for the 
designer for manufactures. It is to be hoped, as this Society is 
assisting in the formation of elementary schools, that it may be 
able to find a better means of producing the result in question." 

156 Anatomy of Doris. 

Anatomy of Doris. 

A paper was read in the Royal Society on March 4, 1852, 
entitled, " On the Anatomy of Doris." By Albany Han- 
cock, Esq., and Dermis Embleton, M.D., Lecturer on Ana- 
tomy and Physiology in the Newcastle-on-Tyne College of 
Medicine in connection with the University of Durham. 

The authors have proposed to themselves to describe the 
anatomy of the three genera typical of the three groups of 
the Nudibranchiate Mollusca. An account of the structure 
of Eolis has already appeared in the Annals of Natural His- 

A detailed description is given of the anatomy of Doris, 
the following species of which have been examined, and are 
referred to in the paper : D. tuberculala, Auct. ; D. tubercu- 
lata, Verany ; D. Johnstoni ; D. tomentosa ; D. repanda ; D. 
coccinea ; D. verrucosa ; D. pilosa ; D. bilamellata ; D. aspera ; 
and D. depressa ; but D. tuber culata of English authors has 
been taken as the type of the genera, and the standard of 
comparison for the rest. 

Digestive System. — The mouth, in all the species, is a 
powerful muscular organ, provided with a prehensile tongue 
beset with silicious spines, which, when the tongue is fully 
developed, are arranged in a median and two lateral series. 
Certain species possess, besides, a prehensile spinous collar 
on the buccal lip, occasionally associated with a rudimentary 
horny jaw. The mode of development of the lingual spines 
is shewn to be the same as that of the teeth of the vertebrata. 

The oesophagus varies in length ; in some, it is dilated at 
the top, forming a crop ; in others, it is simply enlarged 
previously to entering the liver mass. The stomach is of 
two forms ; one, as in D. tuberculata, is very large, receiving 
the oesophagus behind, and giving off the intestine in front, 
and lying in advance of the liver ; the other is received 
within the mass of the liver, and is very small. The liver 
in all is bulky, mostly bilobed, and variously coloured, and 
pours its secretion by one or more very wide ducts into the 

Anatomy of Doris. 157 

cardiac end of the stomach — a small laminated pouch. A 
rudimentary pancreas is attached in some species to the 
cardiac, in others to the pyloric end of the stomach. The 
intestine is short, of nearly the same calibre throughout, 
rather sinuous in its course, and terminates in a nipple- 
formed anus in the centre of the branchial circle. 

The reproductive organs are, male, female, and hermaphro- 
dite. The male organs consist of penis and testes ; the latter 
is connected with the former and with the oviduct. The 
female organs are, ovarium, oviduct, and mucous gland. The 
ovarium is spread over the surface of the liver in the form 
of a branched duct with terminal ampillae. The oviduct ter- 
minates in the mucous gland. The androgynous apparatus is 
a tube or vagina opening from the exterior into the oviduct, 
having one or two diverticular spermathecce communicating 
with it in its course. On the right margin of the body, near 
the front, is a common opening, to which converge the three 
parts of the reproductive organs. The spermatozoa are de- 
veloped within large and fusiform spermatophera, and are 
observed in the spermathecae, oviduct, and ovary. 

Organs of Circulation and Respiration. — The circulatory 
organs are, a systemic heart, arteries, lacunae, and veins. 
The existence of true capillaries in the liver mass seems 
probable. A second heart, a ventricle, having a portal cha- 
racter, is also described. The systemic heart lies imme- 
diately beneath the dorsal skin, in front of the respiratory 
crown, and comprises an auricle and ventricle inclosed 
within a pericardium. In the systemic circle, the blood is 
returned to the heart without having passed through the 
special respiratory organ. It is that blood only which is 
returned from the liver mass that circulates through the 

The authors conclude from their observations, that in the 
molluscs there is a triple circulation : first, the systemic, in 
which the blood propelled along the arteries to the viscera 
and foot is returned, with the exception of that from the liver 
mass, to the heart through the skin ; there it becomes par- 
tially aerated, the skin being provided with vibratile cilia, 
and otherwise adapted as an instrument of respiration : se- 

158 Anatomy of Doris. 

cond, the portal, in which venous blood from the system is 
driven by a special heart to the renal and hepatic organs, and 
probably to the ovarium, where it escapes doubly venous, 
with the rest of the blood which has been supplied to these 
organs from the aorta, and which is therefore only singly 
venous, to the branchiae : third, the branchial circulation, in 
whicli flows only the more deteriorated blood, brought by the 
hepatic vein, but in which also that blood undergoes the 
highest degree of purification capable of being effected in the 
economy, namely, in the special organ of respiration. This 
triple circulation has not yet, as far as the authors are aware, 
been described as existing in the molluscan sub-kingdom. 
From the fact of the blood in Doris being returned to the 
heart in a state'of partial aeration, it is clear, they say, that 
this animal is, in this respect, on a par with the higher crus- 
taceans ; and from the blood arriving at the heart in the 
same condition, according to the researches of Garner and 
Milne-Edwards, in Ostrea and Pinna, the Great Triton of the 
Mediterranean, Haliotis, Patella, and Helix, it can scarcely 
be doubted that this arrangement will be found throughout 
the Mollusca. 

From a consideration of the facts cited in the paper, it may 
be deduced that the skin or mantle is, in the mollusca, the 
fundamental organ of respiration, and that a portion of that 
envelope becomes evolved into a specialty, as we trace up- 
wards the development of the respiratory powers. 

Upon the dorsal aspect of the liver mass is a branched 
cavity, that of the renal organ, lined with a spongy tissue, and 
opening externally at the small orifice near the anus. 

Organs of Innervation. — These are in two divisions, — one 
corresponding to the cerebro-spinal division, the other to the 
sympathetic or ganglionic system of the vertebrata. The 
existence of the latter, it is stated, is now, for the first time, 
fully established. The centres of the first system are seven 
pairs and a half of ganglia. Of the seven pairs, five are 
supra-oesophageal, two infra-cesophageal ; the single ganglion 
belongs to the right side ; and has been named visceral. There 
are three nervous collars around the oesophagus, one of which 
connects the infra with the supra-oesophageal. The total 

Anatomy of Doris. 159 

number of pairs of nerves from the oesophageal centres is 
twenty-one, and there are also four single nerves. 

The sympathetic system exists, and is more or less demon- 
strable in the skin, the buccal mass, and on all the internal 
organs. It consists of a vast number of minute distinct gan- 
glia, varying in size and form, the largest quite visible to the 
naked eye, of a bright orange colour, like the ganglia around 
the oesophagus, and inter-connected by numerous delicate, 
white nervous filaments, arranged in more or less open 
plexuses. This beautiful system is connected with both sets 
of oesophageal ganglia. 

The authors having found the sympathetic nervous system 
in several species of Doris, in Eolis papillosa, and in Arion 
ater, believe it to exist in all the more highly organised 

The supra-cesophageal nervous centres in the Mollusca 
are in some instances so concentrated as to have led to the 
idea that they form only one mass ; in others the ganglia 
are more or less distinct, and separated from each other. 
Doris has been taken as the representative of one class, 
Aplysia of the other ; and, on a comparison of both the supra 
and infra-oesophageal ganglia of these with each other, there 
has been found a close correspondence between them, with 
the exception of the visceral ganglion. The single one in 
Doris is represented in Aplysia by a pair of ganglia, situated 
in the posterior part of the body, near the root of the bran- 
chiae. The supra-cesophageal ganglia in the Lamellibran- 
chiata appear homologous with those of Doris. 

Having determined the existence of a true sympathetic or 
organic nervous system in Doris, the authors feel themselves 
more in a position to trace a parallelism between the oeso- 
phageal nervous centres of these Mollusca and the cerebro- 
spinal system of the Vertebrata ; and accordingly they find 
there is a strict analogy between them, even to the individual 
pairs of ganglia of which they respectively consist ; the 
general result being, that the whole of the ganglia grouped 
around the oesophagus in these Mollusca answers to the en- 
cepnalon, and a small portion of the enrachidion of the Ver- 

160 Lectures on the Results of the 

Organs of the Senses. — The auditory capsules are micro- 
scopic, composed of two concentric vesicles, the inner en- 
closing numerous oval, nucleated otolithes. The eyes are 
minute black dots beneath the skin, attached by a pedicle to 
a small ganglion. They are made up of a cup of pigment, 
receiving from behind the nerve, and lodging in front a lens, 
having in advance of it a cornea, the whole enclosed by a 
fine capsule. The authors believe they have shewn the dor- 
sal tentacles to be the olfactory organs. 

The organs of touch are the general surface of the skin, 
but more particularly the oral tentacles or veil. Taste is 
most probably located in the lips and channel of the mouth ; 
the tongue being a prehensile organ, and ill adapted as the 
seat of such a function. 

In conclusion, the authors comment on the high organisa- 
tion of the Doridae, and express their belief that the genus, 
as at present understood, will require to be broken up into 
several groups. 

On three important Chemical Discoveries from the Exhibition 
of 185 L — (A.) Mercer's Contraction of Cotton by Alkalies; 
— (B.) Young's Paraffine and Mineral Oil from Coal; — 
(C.) Schrotter's Amorphous Phosphorus. By Dr Lyon Play- 
fair, C.B., F.R.S.* 

[The following statements and arguments were supplied by Dr 
Lyon Playfair, as embodying considerations which he desired to 
impress on the attention of the Members of the Royal Institution.] 

It is incumbent on those who, like myself, have been connected 
with the Great Exhibition, to inculcate its teachings, in order that 
it may influence the future, by being a starting-point for industry. 
Unless it imparts new life to productive industry, it has failed in 
the attainment of its object, and will, in history, degenerate into 
the record of a gigantic show, fitted only to pander to an idle 
curiosity. All of us have, no doubt, examined it with a higher 
object, and have derived lessons varying in character and amount 
according to the opportunities which we enjoyed in their acquisi- 
tion. Those who have attended to its teachings with regard to 
the comparative progress of manufactures in different countries, 

* Mooting of Royal Institution, Feb. 27, 1852. 

Great Exhibition of '1851. 161 

owe it as a public duty to announce their convictions on a subject 
of such large social importance. 

My official connection with the Exhibition has enabled me to 
give more attention to it than most of those whom I have the hon- 
our to address, and convictions unfavourable to our position, as an 
industrial nation, have impressed themselves with such force upon 
my mind, that you will not be surprised that I seize every oppor- 
tunity of directing public attention to them. I have already done 
so in a formal manner, on two previous occasions, and I rather 
depart from the custom of bringing before you subjects of original 
research at these evening meetings, in order that I may advocate 
the necessity of a more intimate union between science and practice 
in this country, at an Institution, whose proudest boast it is to have 
largely advanced the discovery of abstract truths, while it has al- 
ways encouraged, at the same time, their applications to the in- 
crease of human resources and enjoyments. 

In this lecture, however, I shall rather urge this point as a 
natural consequence of the subjects chosen for illustration of my 
argument than by any doctrinal exhortations, because these are 
not needed to strengthen your general convictions. 

Our nation has acquired a proud position among the industrial 
states of the world, partly by the discoveries of her philosophers, 
partly by the practical powers and common sense of her popula- 
tion, but chiefly by the abundance and richness of her natural 
resources. Our fuel is abundant and cheap, and our iron and the 
lime necessary for its production are associated with it, so that all 
three may be extracted together under the most favourable cir- 
cumstances. These local advantages gave to our country enor- 
mous power of production, and, under the favouring influences of 
an accidental combination, it supplied its produce to the rest of 
the world. Circumstances remaining the same, our industrial 
position was secured, and we have been thus lulled into a fatal 
apathy; for conditions were in fact varying with great rapidity, 
and the world at large was passing through a state of remarkable 

Setting aside the questions of capital and labour, which are not 
adapted for discussion in this place, the progress of manufactures 
is made up of two factors, possessing very different values. One 
of these represents the raw produce, — the other, the intellect or 
science employed to adapt it to human wants. As civilization 
advances, the value of the raw material as an element of manu- 
factures diminishes, while that of the intellectual element is much 
enhanced. Improvements in locomotion by sea and land spread 
over the world the raw material formerly confined to one locality ; 
and a time arrived when a competition of industry became a com- 
petition, not of local advantages, but of intellect. 

VOL. LIII. NO. CV. — JULY 1852. L 

162 Lectures on the liesults of the 

It was obvious that when improved locomotion gave to all 
countries raw material at slight differences of cost, that any superi- 
ority in the intellectual element would more than balance the 
difference. The Continental States, acting on a perception of this 
truth, saw that they could only compete with English industry by 
instructing their populations in the principles of science. Hence 
have arisen, in their capitals, in their towns, and even in their 
villages, institutions for affording a systematic training in science ; 
and industry has been raised from the rank of an empirical art to 
that of a learned profession. The result is seen in the fact that 
we now meet most European nations as competitors in all the 
markets of the world. The result is palpably forced upon us by 
our actual displacement from markets in which we had a practical 
monopoly. The result was obvious in the Exhibition, where we 
saw many nations, formerly unknown as producers, frequently ap- 
proaching, and often excelling us in manufactures our own by 
hereditary and traditional right. 

The teaching of the Exhibition was to impress me with the 
strongest conviction that England, by relying too much on her local 
advantages, was rapidly losing her former proud position among 
manufacturing nations ; and that unless she speedily adopted mea- 
sures to cultivate the intellectual element of production, by instruct- 
ing her population in the scientific principles of the arts which they 
profess, she must inevitably and with rapidity lose those sources 
of power, which, in spite of the smallness of her home territory, 
have given to her so exalted a rank among nations. 

With these convictions you will not be surprised that I have 
chosen subjects connected with the Exhibition, although I have no 
merit or part whatever in their discovery. I have selected them for 
the following reasons. 

We have a great reliance on the practical sagacity or common 
sense of our population, — certainly superior to that of any part of 
Europe : but we have not strengthened it by communicating scien- 
tific knowledge to those who are entrusted with the exercise of this 
practical power ; and hence this common sense, unaided by the 
rules of science, has gradually assumed a sway over our manufac- 
tures. In other words, conjectural judgments have usurped the 
place of systematic knowledge. Practice and science have been 
followed out separately, as having no immediate connection. This 
separation, and even practical antagonism, has been fatal to our pro- 
gress in industry ; for manufacturers, as a body, have ceased to per- 
ceive that abstract science forms the roots of the tree of industry, 
and that to separate them is to sever the tree from its roots. In 
order to restore vigour to our declining industry, it is essential that 
confidence in the powers of science should be imparted to practice, 
and that the latter should be taught that it is, even as a question 
of social policy, highly important to encourage discoveries in ab- 

Great Exhibition of 1851. 163 

stract truths, however apparently remote from practice ; because 
science only benefits industry by its overflowings, arising from the 
very fulness of its measure. 

Every abstract truth, in its due time, adds to human resources 
and enjoyments, and it is this text that I wish to inculcate from 
examples derived from the Exhibition. One of the last generaliza- 
tions of the great Berzelius, was that of allotropism, a name only 
eleven years old, and fully explained by him only six years since ; 
and yet this generalization, apparently at the time only of ab- 
stract interest, entirely remote from practical application, produced 
as fruit the three most original, and, I think, the most important, 
practical discoveries of the Exhibition. 

Having thus introduced the subject of his lecture, Dr Playfair 
proceeded to offer certain examples of allotropism. It had long 
been known that bodies crystallised in two or more incompatible 
forms. Thus, carbonate of lime as arragonite crystallises in prisms ; 
whereas as calcareous spar it crystallises in rhombs. Sulphur also 
crystallises in two incompatible forms ; so does the garnet. This 
is termed dimorphism. When two such forms exist they are 
found to be maintained in unequal stability ; it appears, in fact, as 
if one form was normal and the other forced or strained. Thus a 
prism of arragonite is subject to change into rhombs of calc spar ; 
and sulphur crystallised by heat in oblique rhombic prisms passes 
in a few days into a mass of rhombic octohedrons. Not only may 
the chemical and physical characteristics of such dimorphous bodies 
differ, but their colour and their specific gravity. Thus, the sul- 
phuret of iron (Fe S 2 ), when crystallised in cubes, is persistent in 
the air ; but when occurring in a rhombic form, readily passes into 
copperas or sulphate of iron. 

Applying the preceding remarks to non-crystallised bodies, it was 
equally found that many were susceptible of allotropic modification. 
Thus cinnabar and vermilion were of precisely similar chemical 
composition with the black sulphuret of mercury. Again, the 
sesquisulphuret of antimony might be black or orange. Iodide of 
mercury is commonly red ; when heated, however, it passes into 
a yellow powder, which by simple pressure and rubbing with a hard 
body becomes red again. Sugar is a remarkable instance of a 
solid capable of assuming two allotropic states ; as sugar candy it 
is crystallised, as barley sugar it is amorphous ; yet the composi- 
tion of sugar in either case is the same. Nor are liquids exempt 
from the strange state of allotropism, — sometimes indeed mani- 
festing a condition even beyond allotropism (isomerism), and not 
allowing us to reconvert them to their primitive state. Thus the 
chemical composition of oil of turpentine, of rosemary, of lemons, 
of copaiba, are identical, yet no one of these bodies has hitherto 
been turned into the other. The steroptane of otto of roses is 
identical in composition with coal gas, yet chemists are unable to 
change one into the other. The term isomerism has been cora- 

164 Lectures on the Besults of the 

monly employed in relation to bodies of like atomic composition, and 
lias reference to equality of parts. The term allotropism is a better 
denomination, and lias reference to tliecondition of unlike properties. 

The preceding remarks by Dr Playfair were introductory to an 
exposition of the respective discoveries of Mr Mercer, Mr Young, 
and Dr Schrotter. 

(A.) — Mercer's process consists in bringing cotton fabrics in con- 
tact with a solution of soda (cold), or a solution of dilute sulphuric 
acid, by subjecting it to either of which processes cotton acquires 
certain remarkable properties. In the first place, the texture be- 
comes very much corrugated, and hence proportionably finer ; it 
also assumes acid properties, rendering it more capable of taking 
up dyes. The process of induction which led Mr Mercer to his 
final discovery was curious. He started from the point of inves- 
tigating the laws which determined the flow of water at various 
temperatures through minute tubes. From water he proceeded 
to aqueous saline solutions ; from tubes he proceeded to their 
equivalent, namely, closely-folded woven tissue. Selecting for 
this purpose a thick reduplication of calico, fold on fold, and em- 
ploying on aqueous solution of soda, Mr Mercer found that, by pass- 
ing the solution through the calico, soda was removed. This re- 
moval he attributed to the act of filtration ; but, subsequently 
finding that mere immersion of the calico in the same solution 
effected a like result, he concluded that the result was due to an 
actual combination of the cotton with the soda — a calico-ate of 
soda (if the lecturer might be permitted that form of expression) 
was generated. 

The result of this agency of soda was, as formerly remarked, a 
physical corrugation, and an acquisition of certain chemical qualities. 
The former change was evident to the eye. Dr Playfair exhibited 
two stockings, one of which being nearly double the size of the 
other, although both came equal in size from the loom. The 
difference had been occasioned solely by chemical not mechanical 
agency. Dr Playfair, in developing the numerous practical appli- 
cations of this physical effect, shewed that, besides the most ob- 
vious one of producing a material of increased fineness, the cotton 
thus prepared was far more capable of being dyed. Hot soda solu- 
tion would not answer ; and this fact was remarkable, and had its 
analogue in those salts which deposited themselves anhydrous on 
boiling. Instead of soda sulphuric acid might be employed ; in 
which case it formed, in combination with the cotton fibre, an easily 
decomposable conjugate acid. 

(B.) — Some years ago Liebig stated that one of the greatest dis- 
coveries of chemistry would consist in converting coal-gas into a 
solid form, thus enabling it to be burned like a candle. This had, 
in a manner, been accomplished by Mr Young. About three years 
since, Dr Playfair drew the attention of Mr Young to a spring of 

Great Exit ibition of 1 85 1 . 165 

mineral oil, containing paraffine, and occurring in a coal-mine in 
Derbyshire. The liquid had been extensively applied by Mr 
Young as a lubricating agent ; a use which Reichenbach had 
long ago suggested. After a period, however, this spring ceased 
to flow, when Mr Young applied himself to an investigation of 
the theoretical conditions under which it might be artificially 
formed. This gentleman saw that it would be difficult to convert 
gas into an allotropic form, whereas it was evident that gas must 
first come from a solid ; hence he hoped to succeed in procuring 
the body before it assumed its gaseous state. 

The illuminating portion of coal gas consists chiefly of olefiant 
gas, and the latter is isomeric with solid paraffine. But the allo- 
tropism does not end here ; the peculiar slow distillation of coals 
yielding solid paraffine, also yielded another isomeric or allotropic 
compound, in the form of a lubricating oil, besides the additional 
products of a burning oil, and naphtha. 

Dr Playfair now explained, by the aid of a diagram, the slow 
distillation process of Mr Young, employed in generating his allo- 
tropic form of olefiant gas, and directed the attention of his audience 
to some candles made of coal paraffine on the lecture table. 

(C.} — Schrotter's process of manufacturing amorphous or allo- 
tropic phosphorus was the third in Dr Playfair's series. The pro- 
perties of phosphorus in its ordinary condition are well known. It 
is spontaneously inflammable and highly poisonous ; whereas the 
amorphous or allotropic phosphorus is neither spontaneously in- 
flammable nor poisonous. Hence its great use in the manufacture 
of lucifer and congreve matches ; an operation which not only im- 
perilled the premises wherein it is conducted, but also the lives of 
those conducting it, causing the most frightful and fatal disease of 
the jaws and facial bones. 

Common phosphorus, when heated to about 460° or 480°, changes 
into the allotropic condition, but a slight increment of heat changes 
it back again. Hence the manufacture of this substance, on a large 
scale, is attended with difficulties which Dr Playfair had no doubt 
would be eventually overcome by the energy of Mr Sturge, the 
patentee. The specific gravity of ordinary phosphorus is 177 — 
of amorphous phosphorus, 1-964. Common phosphorus is soluble 
in bisulphuret of carbon, whereas the amorphous variety is not. 
Common phosphorus bursts into flame when brought into contact 
with iodine, whereas the amorphous or allotropic variety does not. 
Common phosphorus is luminous at very low temperatures, whereas 
the amorphous variety only commences to be luminous at a tem- 
perature of 500° Fahr. In forming lucifer matches by means of 
allotropic phosphorus, there is experienced the difficulty that it 
does not ignite by friction ; hence it has to be mixed either with 
chlorate of potash, oxide of lead, or sulphuret of antimony, when 
friction takes effect and generates flame. 

166 Lectures on the liesults of the 

Having thus discussed the experimental portion of his lecture, 
Dr Playfair concluded as follows : — 

These three practical discoveries, for I think they are entitled 
to be considered as such, and not merely as inventions, have ema- 
nated from men all highly educated in chemical science. It is a 
proud subject of praise and of congratulation, that the two first 
discoverers, Mr Mercer and Mr Young, have, by the aid of science, 
raised themselves from the position of working artizans to that of 
employers in works involving considerable capital in their prose- 
cution. Science has been to them a true power, the more so as in 
the arts which they profess, the manufacturers have usually been 
men of technical and not of scientific knowledge. The very fact 
of their success is a convincing evidence of what an immense de- 
velopment our industry might receive, if its sons were able to take 
advantage of the knowledge which science is constantly shower- 
ing down upon the world. 

There is a wide chasm between the laboratory of the philoso- 
pher and the workshop of the manufacturer — a chasm which must 
be bridged over by those who understand the nature of the foun- 
dations on either side. In general it is not the duty of the philo- 
sopher to do this ; it is more important for social progress, that 
he should continue to benefit the world by new accessions of truth, 
leaving to others to apply them to the promotion of the comforts 
and happiness of the human race. If technical men become dis- 
ciples of science, then their acquaintance with the wants and re- 
quirements of manufacturers would enable them to derive from its 
teachings the knowledge requisite to apply it to the desired ends. 
Science should roll on, as it does now, a mighty river, from the 
abundant waters of which streams may be derived to fertilize the 
lands over which they pass ; for in the course of nature, these 
overflowings are restored in the form of refreshing showers. Their 
beneficial effects will, however, depend upon the skill of those who 
construct the channels destined to direct the waters for the uses of 

It is no new truth that science should always be ready to benefit 
industry by instructing those engaged in it, rather than by directly 
uniting with it. This truth is as old as the mythology, where we 
find no celestial so beneficent to industrial arts as Minerva, al- 
though she always preserved an independent existence, notwith- 
standing the passionate wooing of Vulcan, the god of industry. 
We have had it inculcated by the sages of all countries, strongly 
enforced by our own Bacon, and eloquently advocated in the 
theatre of this Institution by Davy. 

Abstract science could not, if it would, cause itself and industry 
to progress satisfactorily by means of its discovering philosophers. 

Great Exhibition of 1851. 167 

There must be other means of conveying its God-born truths to in- 
dustry, in order to freshen and invigorate its existence. The results 
of continental success indicate that the true way for those requiring 
aid is to come to the fountain of knowledge and take that which 
they need. 

I need not detain you longer on this subject, except again to 
urge you to consider what must be the result of the system of in- 
struction pursued abroad. In addition to many provincial schools, 
France has two central colleges of arts and manufactures, in one 
of which 300 of the best youth of France commence their educa- 
tion in science just where our colleges leave off, and after two 
years, they are poured into the provinces to impart to industry 
the principles of science which they have there attained. Prussia, 
Austria, Russia, and the Northern States are encouraging the 
same kind of education, and even yet more extensively. Need we 
be surprised, then, that they are progressing so rapidly in manu- 
factures, in spite of their dear fuel and machinery. Recollect 
that we have reached that state when in future the competition of 
industry must be a competition of intellect. 

Is England in a prepared state to meet this intellectual compe- 
tition \ Have we adapted the system of instruction in our schools 
to the wants and necessities of the age ? Has science, or a know- 
ledge of God's works and God's goodness and wisdom, yet become 
an important part of the instruction of our sons of industry, or do 
we not, by an antiquated notion, preserve the idea that the classi- 
cal learning of the thirteenth century is all-sufficient for the re- 
quirements of the nineteenth century % 

These questions are truly important if we desire to see England 
keep her ground in the industrial struggle of nations. I wish not 
to underrate any branch of human learning ; but I do vehemently 
desire to see banished from our schools the bed of Procrustes, to 
the dimensions of which our children are clipped or extended until 
they are so changed in their natural aspirations for science, that 
it is very difficult, in after life, to communicate that amount which 
is necessary for its application to industry. I need not say, there- 
fore, that until scientific instruction be added to the general system 
of education of our youth, that England cannot expect to be fore- 
most in the industrial race of nations. 

Already we see our capital largely employed to import foreign 
talent into our manufactures, and by this, in many cases, we retain 
our superiority. But it does not require much acumen to perceive 
the wretchedness of this policy as regards the nation, which, careless 
of the education of her own sons, sends her capital as a premium 
to the advancement of that intellectual knowledge in foreign states, 
who use it as the means of her destruction. 

Excuse me if I have expressed my convictions on these points 
more strongly than you feel them ; but they have taken such strong 

168 Dr M. Barry on the Spiral Structure of Muscle, 

hold on my mind, that I connot see safety for the future of our 
nation unless hy a great and comprehensive improvement in the 
instruction of her people. I shall conclude in the language of Dr 
Davy, when he addressed you on the henefits conferred by this 
Institution both on science and on industry : — 

" There is no country which ought so much to glory in the 
progress of science as this happy island. Science has been a prime 
cause of creating for us the inexhaustible wealth of manufactures ; 
and it is by science that it must be preserved and extended. We 
are interested as a commercial people ; we are interested as a free 
people. The age of glory of a nation is also its age of security. 
The same dignified feeling which urges men to gain dominion over 
nations, will preserve them from the dominion of slavery. Natural, 
and moral, and religious knowledge are of one family ; and happy 
is the country, and great its strength, where they dwell together in 

The Spiral Structure of Muscle and the Muscular Structure of 
Cilia, as determined by Dr Martin Barry. 

We rejoice to learn that our distinguished friend, the cele- 
brated physiologist, Dr Martin Barry, has so far recovered 
from his long illness as to be able to resume his microscopical 
investigations, and has lately published an account of his 
renewed researches on the spiral structure of muscle. 

In tha year 1842, Dr Barry, in a memoir published in the 
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, recorded his 
discovery of the spiral structure of muscle. Two or three to 
whom he had shewn the tissue with his own microscope 
believed what he wrote, but by most persons it was doubted, 
by some flatly denied. Dr Barry's eye-sight became affected, 
and for years that instrument remained unused.* But our 
friend's sight was at length improved. He was in the same 
city (Berlin) with the celebrated physiologist, Purkinje, and 
shewed him that muscle had a spiral structure, and added 
the very interesting observation, that cilia are no other than 

* Some observers had also declared, that when Dr Barry saw spermatozoa 
within the ovum of the Rabbit, he saw too much. But since Dr Barry's an- 
nouncement spermatozoa have been found in the ovum by others. In papers 
laid before the Royal Society, the author of one of them found them within 
the ovum of the Ascaris mystax, and the author of the other, who denied the 
fact, confessed that he was obliged to cry peccavi, others finding them for him 
within the ovum of the frog. 

and the Muscular Structure of Cilia. 169 

little muscles. He now wrote a fresh paper, containing an 
account of his renewed researches on muscle and of the 
muscular character of cilia. Purkinje translated that paper 
into German and communicated it to Muller's Archiv, where 
it occupies sixty-eight pages 8vo, with numerous engravings. 
Although we cannot, from the number of the engravings, give 
this very valuable contribution to science a place in our 
Journal, we embrace this opportunity of recommending it to 
the particular attention of naturalists. They will find in it 
a confirmation of Dr Barry's observations published nine 
years ago, " that the structure of muscle is a spiral struc- 
ture," and discover (not published before) that cilia have 
a truly muscular character and structure ; this being de- 
monstrable, not only in cilia from the gill of the oyster and 
the common sea mussel, but in those of the Infusoria. (But 
of course if any cilia are muscular, all cilia are so.) 

Letter from Mr Stevenson Macadam to Professor Jameson, on 
M. Chatin! s Observations on the General Distribution of Iodine. 

Philosophical Institution, 
Edinburgh, 22d June 1852. 

Dear Sir, — A short time ago M. Chatin read a memoir 
before the French Academy of Sciences, in which he stated 
that he had detected the presence of iodine in the atmosphere, 
in rain-water, in soils, &c. His observations led him to 
believe that the greater or less quantity of iodine present in 
any one district, to a certain extent determined the presence 
or absence of goitre and cretinism. With the view to corro- 
borate, so far as possible, the results announced by M. Chatin, 
I have, this summer, undertaken a series of analyses in refer- 
ence to the general distribution of the important element in 

I am not aware that Chatin has published a detailed 
statement of the processes which he pursued, or the reagents 
which he employed in his experiments ; but from the mention 
which he makes of the good offices fulfilled by potash in arrest- 
ing " the complete decomposition of the iodine compounds pre- 
sent in water," and by carbonate of potash and carbonate of soda, 

170 M. Chatirfs Observations 

in rendering the iodine present in soils much more easily ex- 
tracted, I was led to think that the fixed alkalies had been 
much employed by him. Accordingly, in my first experiments, 
I used the alkalies in their caustic condition for the purpose 
of fixing any free iodine or compound of iodine which I might 

I commenced with an examination of the atmosphere. By 
the arrangements I employed the air was made to traverse, 
1st, a tube containing slips of paper which had been previously 
dipped in a solution of starch, and, 2d, a double-necked gas 
bottle, containing about three ounces of a dilute solution of 
caustic soda. A continuous stream of air was drawn through 
the arrangement for some hours. This experiment was con- 
ducted in the morning ; in the afternoon a stream of air was 
for several hours drawn through the same arrangement, 
caustic potash being substituted for soda. The starch papers 
did not exhibit the slightest coloration even when moistened 
with distilled water. The solutions of potash and soda, how- 
ever, on being treated with starch and nitric acid at once ex- 
hibited the rose colour characteristic of the presence of iodine 
in small quantity. So far my experiments seemed to lead 
to the desired conclusion, but when I carefully tested por- 
tions of the original alkaline solutions which had not been 
subjected to the current of air, I found the iodine present in 
them in quantity, to all appearance, as great as it was in those 
portions I had used in my experiments. Wishing to trace 
back the iodine to its source, I tested samples of the carbonate 
of potash, carbonate of soda, and lime-shell, which had been 
employed in the preparation of the caustic solutions, and in 
all three iodine was present in perceptible quantity. De- 
sirous also of making certain that the lime and alkalies used in 
my investigations were as pure as other commercial substances 
of the same kind, I procured various specimens from different 
sources, and in every sample which I have as yet subjected 
to examination, I have detected the presence of iodine. So far 
then as concerns the determination of iodine in the atmo- 
sphere, my experiments were of no value; the alkalies through 
which air was drawn undoubtedly contained iodine originally, 
and therefore no certain conclusion could be drawn as to the 

on the General Distribution of Iodine. 171 

probability of their being more highly iodized by contact 
with the atmosphere. 

In a subsequent experiment the alkalies were dispensed 
with, the air being drawn through, 1st, a tube with slips of 
starched paper kept somewhat damp ; 2d, a gas bottle im- 
mersed in a freezing mixture ; and 3d, a gas bottle contain- 
ing a solution of nitrate of silver. A continuous current of 
air was kept up for fully five hours, commencing about mid- 
day, and extending to the evening. At the conclusion of the 
experiments the papers were not altered in the slightest de- 
gree ; the gas bottle (2) contained about a quarter of an 
ounce of liquid ; and the nitrate of silver (3) had not been 
perceptibly changed. Subsequent analyses shewed that 
neither the condensed liquid (2), nor the nitrate of silver 
(3), contained a trace of iodine. 

Experiments made with large quantities of the rain water 
which fell in Edinburgh during the last and present months, 
have led me to the same negative results. 

I am well aware that consequent on the evaporation of 
water from the surface of the ocean, portions of the salts 
contained in it are carried up and disseminated through the 
atmosphere, ready to be rained down upon inland places, and 
that in this way, iodine, most probably as iodide of sodium, 
will reach the air. I was accordingly confident that I should 
succeed in verifying Chatin's observations in a district so near 
the sea as that around Edinburgh ; either, however, iodine 
is less widely distributed than it has appeared to be, or its re- 
cognition is more difficult than Chatin's papers would lead us 
to expect. It is greatly to be wished that this able observer 
would publish his entire process. 

In conclusion, I would merely add that the presence of 
iodine in pearl ashes leads me to believe that this substance 
will be found more generally distributed in the vegetable 
kingdom than it has hitherto been supposed to be, and this 
opinion is strengthened by the fact that I have found an ap- 
preciable quantity of iodine in the ashes of charcoal. 

I trust that an early opportunity will enable me to write 
a more lengthened paper on this subject. I remain yours 
sincerely, Stevenson Macadam. 

To Prof. Jameson. 


Upon Animal Individuality. By THOMAS H. HuXLEY, 
F.R.S., R.N.* 

The lecturer first briefly described the structure of the Di- 
phydoe and Physophoridee — pointing out the general confor- 
mity of these animals with the common Hydra. 

They differ, however, in this important respect ; that the 
body in which the eggs are developed is in Hydra, a simple 
process ; while in the Diphydae and Physophoridse the corre- 
sponding body presents every degree of complication from 
this form, to that of a free-swimming, independent " Medusa." 

Still more striking phenomena were shewn to be exhibited 
by the Salpse. In this genus each species has two forms. 
In the example chosen these forms were the S. democratica, 
and the S. mucronata ; the former is solitary, and never pro- 
duces ova, but develops a peculiar process the " gemmiferous 
tube ;" upon which, and from which, the associated Salpss 
mucronatse are formed by budding. 

Each of these carries a single ovum, from which the first 
form is again developed. 

The Salpa mucronata, which is thus produced from the 
Salpa democratica, is just as highly organised as the latter. 
It has as complete a circulatory, nervous, and digestive appa- 
ratus, and moves about and feeds as actively ; no one unac- 
quainted with its history would dream of its being other than 
a distinct individual animal, and for such it has hitherto 

But the Salpa mucronata has exactly the same relation to 
the S. democratica that the free-medusiform egg-producing 
body of Physalia or Velella has to the Physalia or Velella ; 
and this free-medusiform body is homologous with the fixed 
medusiform body of Diphyes ; which again is homologous 
with the semi-medusiform, fixed body of a Tubularia, and with 
the egg-producing process of the Hydra. 

Now as all these bodies are homologous with one another, 
one of two conclusions is possible ; either, considering the 

* Read at Meeting of Royal Institution, April 20, 1852. 

Thomas Huxley, Esq., on Animal Individuality. 173 

Salpa mucronata to be an individual, we are logically led to 
look upon the egg-producing process of Hydra as an indivi- 
dual also, which seems absurd. 

Or starting with the assumption that the egg-producing 
process of Hydra is a mere organ, we arrive at the conclu- 
sion, that the Salpa mucronata is a mere organ also : which 
appears equally startling. 

The whole question appears to turn upon the meaning of 
the word " individual." 

This word the lecturer endeavoured to shew always means, 
merely, " a single thing of a given kind." 

There are, however, several kinds of Individuality. 

Firstly, There is what may be called arbitrary individuality, 
which depends wholly upon our way of regarding a thing, 
and is therefore merely temporary : such is the individuality 
of a landscape, or of a period of time ; a century, for instance. 

Secondly, There is an individuality which depends upon 
something else than our own will or caprice ; this something 
is a fact or law of co-existence, which cannot be materially 
altered without destroying the individuality in question. 

Thus a crystal is an individual thing in virtue of its form, 
hardness, transparency, and other co-existent qualities; pound 
it into powder, destroy the co-existence of these qualities, and 
it loses its individuality. 

Thirdly, There is a kind of individuality which is consti- 
tuted and defined by a fact or law of succession. Phenomena 
which occur in a definite cycle are considered as one, in con- 
sequence of the law which connects them. 

As a simple instance, we may take the individuality of the 
beat of a pendulum. An individual beat is the sum of the 
successive places of the bob of the pendulum, as it passes 
from a state of rest to a state of rest again. 

Such is the individuality of living, organised beings. Every 
organized being has been formless, and will again be form- 
less ; the individual animal or plant is the sum of the inces- 
sant changes which succeed one another between these two 
periods of rest. 

The individual animal is one beat of the pendulum of life, 
birth and death are the two points of rest, and the vital force 

174 Thomas Huxley, Esq., on Animal Individuality. 

is like the velocity of the pendulum, a constantly varying 
quantity between these two zero points. The different forms 
which an animal may assume correspond with the successive 
places of the pendulum. 

In man himself, the individual, zoologically speaking, 
is not a state of man at any particular moment, as infant, 
child, youth, or man ; but the sum of all these, with the im- 
plied fact of their definite succession. 

In this case, and in most of the higher animals, the forms 
or states of the individual are not naturally separated from 
one another : they pass into one another, undistinguishably. 

Among other animals, however, nature draws lines of de- 
marcation between the different forms ; thus, among insects, 
the individual takes three forms, the caterpillar, the chrysalis, 
and the butterfly. These do not pass into one another insen- 
sibly, but are separated by apparent sudden changes ; each 
change being accompanied by a separation of the individual 
two parts. One part is left behind and dies ; it receives the 
name of a skin or cast : the other part continues the exist- 
ence of the individual under a new form. 

The whole process is called Ecdysis : it is a case of what 
might be termed concentric fission. 

The peculiarity of this mode of fission is ; that of the two 
portions into which the individual becomes divided at each 
moult, one is unable to maintain an independent existence, 
and therefore ceases to be of any importance ; while the 
other continues to carry on all the functions of animal life, 
and to represent in itself the whole individuality of the ani- 
mal. From this circumstance, there is no objection to any 
independent form being taken for, and spoken of as, the 
the whole individual, among the higher animals. 

But, among the lower animals, the mode of representation 
of the individual is different, and any independent form ceases, 
in many cases, to represent the whole individual ; these two 
modes, however, pass into one another insensibly. 

The best illustration of this fact may be taken from the 
development of the Echinodenus, as it has been made known 
by the brilliant discoveries of Professor Miiller. 

The Echinus lividus stands in the same relation to its 

Thomas Huxley, Esq., on Animal Individuality. 175 

Pluteus as a butterfly to its caterpillar ; in the course of de- 
velopment only a slight ecdysis takes place, the skin of the 
Pluteus becoming for the most part converted into the skin 
of the Echinus. 

But in Asterias, the Bipinnaria, which corresponds with 
the Pluteus, gives up only a portion of its integument to the 
developed Asterias; the remaining and far larger portion 
lives for a time after its separation as an independent form. 

The Bipinnaria and the Starfish, are as much forms of the 
same individual as are the Pluteus and Echinus or the cater- 
pillar and butterfly ; but here the development of one form 
is not necessarily followed by the destruction of the other, 
and the individual is, for a time at any rate, represented by 
two co-existing forms. 

This temporary co-existence of two forms of the individual 
might become permanent if the Asterias, instead of carrying 
off the intestinal canal of the Bipinnaria, developed one of 
its own ; and this is exactly what takes place in the Gyro- 
dactylus, whose singular development has been described by 
Von Siebold. 

But the case of the Gyrodactylus affords us an easy transi- 
tion to that of the Trematoda, the Aphides, and the Salpae, 
in which the mutual independence of the forms of the indivi- 
dual is carried to its greatest extent ; so that even on anato- 
mical grounds it is demonstrable that the difference between 
the so-called " skin" of the caterpillar, the free Bipinnaria, 
and the Salpa democratica is not in kind, but merely in 

Each represents a form of the individual ; the amount of 
independent existence of which a form is capable, cannot 
affect its homology as such. 

The Lecturer then proceeded to point out that the doctrine 
of the " Alternation of Generations" and all theories con- 
nected with it, rest upon the tacit or avowed assumption 
" that whatever animal form has an independent existence 
is an individual animal," a doctrine which he endeavoured to 
shew, must, if carried out, inevitably lead to absurdities and 
contradictions, as indeed Dr Carpenter has already pointed 

176 Thomas Huxley, Esq., on Animal Individuality. 

There is no such thing as a true case of the " Alternation 
of Generations'' in the animal kingdom ; there is only an 
alternation of true generation with the totally distinct pro- 
cess of Gemmation or Fission. 

It is indeed maintained that the latter processes are equi- 
valent to the former ; that the result of Gemmation as much 
constitutes an individual, as the result of true Generation ; 
but in that case the tentacles of a Hydra, the gemmiferous 
tube of a Salpa, nay, the legs of a Centipede or Lobster must 
be called individuals. 

And if it be said that the bud must have in addition the 
power of existing independently, to constitute an individual ; 
there is the case of the male Argonaut, which has been just 
shewn by H. Muller to have the power of detaching one of 
its arms (a result of gemmation) which then leads a separate 
existence as the Hectocotylus. 

Without a misuse of words, however, no one would call 
this a separate individual. 

In conclusion the lecturer stated his own views thus : 

The individual animal is the sum of the phenomena pre- 
sented by a single life : in other words, it is, all those animal 
forms which proceed from a single egg, taken together. 

The individual is represented in very various modes in the 
Animal Kingdom : these modes pass insensibly one into the 
other, in nature ; but for purposes of clear comprehension 
they may be thus distinguished and tabulated. 

Representation of the Individual. 

I. By Successive Inseparable Forms. 

Ascaris. A. Forms little different = Growth. 

Triton. B. Forms markedly different = Metamorphosis. 

II. By Successive Separable Forms. 

1. Earlier Forms not Independent. 
Cockroach. A. Forms little different = Growth with Ecdysis. 
Beetle. B. Forms markedly different = Growth with Me- 

2. Earlier Forms partially Independent. 

Scientific Intelligence. 177 

III. By Successive and Co-existent Separable Forms. 

a. External Gemmation. b. Internal Gemmation. 

A. Forms little different. All the forms produce eggs. 

Hydra. } Gyrodactylus. 

B. Forms markedly different. Last forms only produce eggs. 

*^* Last Forms produced. 
Generally : 
Medusa. } Fluke. 

Locally : 
Salpa. } Aphis. 

These various modes of Representation of the Individual 
are ultimate facts. One is neither more nor less wonderful 
or explicable than another ; any theory which pretends to 
account for the Successive and co-existent forms of the Aphis- 
individual must also account for the successive forms of the 
Beetle- individual or of the Horse-individual — since they are 
phenomena of essentially the same nature. 

When the forms of the Individual are independent it be- 
comes desirable to have some special name by which we may 
denote them, so as to avoid the incessant ambiguity of the 
two senses of the word individual. For these forms the 
Lecturer some time ago proposed the name " Zooid." Thus 
the Salpa-individual is represented by two Zooids ; the Fluke 
by three ; the Aphis by nine or eleven, &c. 

The use of this term is of course a mere matter of con- 
venience and has nothing to do with the question of Indivi- 
duality itself. 


1. A Letter to Sir John W. Lubboch, Bart., F.R.S., " On the 
Stability of the Earth's Axis of Rotation." By Henry Hennessy, 
Esq., M.R.I. A., 8fc. (Communicated by Sir John Lubbock. — The 
author refers to a communication to the Geological Society by Sir 
John Lubbock, in which he appeals, in support of the possibility of 
a change in the earth's axis, to the influence of two disturbing causes, 
which appear to have almost entirely escaped the notice of Laplace and 
Poisson, in their investigations on the stability of the earth's axis of 

VOL. LIU. NO. CV. — JULY 1852. M 

178 Stability of the Earth's Axis of Rotation. 

rotation: — 1. The necessary displacement of the earth's interior 
strata, arising from chemical and physical actions during the process 
of solidification. 2. The friction of the resisting medium in which 
the earth is supposed to move. 

With reference to the first of these disturbing causes, the author 
states, that in his Researches in Terrestrial Physics (Philosophical 
Transactions, 1851, Part 2), he has been led to conclusions which 
may assist in clearing up the question. From an inquiry into the 
process of the earth's solidification, which appears to him most in ac- 
cordance with mechanical and physical laws, he has deduced results re- 
specting the earth's structure, which throws some light on the changes 
which may take place in the relation between its principal moments 
of inertia, which relation is capable of being expressed by means of 
a function which depends on the arrangement of the earth's interior 

He then states that he has found strong confirmation of his pecu- 
liar views respecting the theory of the earth's figure, in the experi- 
ments of Professor Bischof of Bonn, on the contraction of granite 
and other rocks in passing from the fluid to the solid crystalline state. 
From the results of these experiments, he has been led to assign a 
new form to the function, expressing the relation of the earth's 
principal moments of inertia. Referring to his paper for the mathe- 
matical processes by which he arrived at this result, he states that, 
from the theory he has ventured to adopt, it follows that, as solidifi- 
cation advances, the strata of equal pressure in the fluid spheroidal 
nucleus of the earth, acquire increased ellipticity, and each stratum 
of equal density, successively added to the inner surface of the solid 
crust, is more oblate than the solid strata previously found. 

From these considerations alone, he remarks, it is evident that the 
difference between the greatest and least moment of inertia of the 
earth would progressively increase during the process of solidifica- 
tion. It follows, therefore, that if the earth's axis of rotation were 
at any time stable, it would continue so for ever. But, from the 
laws of fluid equilibrium, the axis must have been stable at the epoch 
of the first formation of the earth's crust; consequently, it continued 
undisturbed as the thickness of the crust increased during the se- 
veral geological formations. Thus it appears that the displacement 
of the earth's interior strata, instead of having a tendency to change 
its axis of rotation, tends to increase the stability of that axis. 

With reference to inequalities arising from the friction of a re- 
sisting medium at the earth's surface, the author observes that they 
could not exist, if, as in the manner here shewn, the axis of rota- 
tion coincided from the origin with the axis of figure. 

In conclusion, he remarks, that if we could assume for the planets 
a similarity of physical constitution to that of the earth, the theorem 
as to the difference of the greatest and least moments of inertia of 
tho earth would be applicable to all the planets ; and thus we should 

Influence of Oil on Water. 179 

be as well assured of the stability of our system, with respect to the 
motion of rotation of its several members, as we are already respect- 
ing their motion of translation. 

In a postscript, referring to a third cause of disturbance in the 
place of the earth's axis of rotation, suggested in a letter from Sir 
John Lubbock, namely, the effects of local elevation and depressions 
at the earth's surface, the author states — If, with Humboldt, we re- 
gard the numbers expressing the mean heights of the several conti- 
nents, as indicators of the plutonic forces by which they have been 
upheaved, we shall readily see that these forces are of an inferior 
order to those affecting the general forms and structure of the earth. 
If the second class of forces acted, so as not to influence in any way 
the stability of the earth's axis of rotation, the former class might, 
under certain conditions, produce a sensible change in the position 
of the axis. But when the tendency of the second class of forces is 
to increase the stability of the earth's axis, it would not be easy to 
shew the possibility of such conditions, as to render the operation of 
the other forces not only effective in counteracting that tendency, 
but also capable of producing a sensible change in the place of the 
axis of rotation. — (Proceedings of the Royal Society, Feb. 1852.) 

2. Influence of Oil on Water. — Professor Horsford, at the Al- 
bany meeting of the American Association, read a paper, entitled, 
" On the occurrence of Placid Water, in the midst of large areas, 
where Waves were constantly breaking." 

The Professor said he had noticed frequently that there were 
spaces of some extent, in places where the waves broke, which were 
very smooth ; that though the swell, or rise and fall of the water, 
was just as great, yet there was no breaking of the waves, no white 
crest or comb, but he believed that these smooth spots were occa- 
sioned by oil, or oleaginous matter, which had accidentally happened 
to be spread on the surface at such places. To test this, he had, 
himself, when there was quite a stiff breeze, with waves on the sur- 
face of the water, which broke with considerable force off a comb or 
crest, emptied a phial of oil on the water from a boat. The effect 
was instantly seen. As far as the oil spread, the water was smooth, 
and the waves did not break ; and what was very curious, the oil 
spread over the surface almost as rapidly to windward as it did to 
leeward. He had, therefore, inclined to the conclusion, that the 
smooth spaces, which might be observed in the midst of places where 
waves broke, were owing to the presence of oil, which might either 
come from decaying fish, or some other substance from which oil 

Commodore Wilkes confirmed the statement and observations 
made by Professor Horsford. He cited the instance where he had 
seen the same effects in a violent storm off the Cape of Good Hope, 
from the leakage of a whale ship. He stated it was very curious 

180 Salt Lake of Utah. 

to observe over what a great extent a small quantity of oil would 
produce the effect spoken of. 

3. The Salt Lake of Utah. — Lieutenant Gunnison, of the Topo- 
graphical Engineers, who has been employed for some time past in 
the survey of the great basin in which the Salt Lake is situated, 
speaks of the lake as an object of the greatest curiosity. The water 
is about one-third salt, yielding that amount on boiling. Its den- 
sity is considerably greater than that of the Dead Sea. One can 
hardly get his whole body below the surface. In a sitting position, 
the head and shoulders will remain above water, such is the strength 
of the brine ; and, on coming to the shore, the body is covered over 
with an incrustation of salt in fine crystals. The most surprising 
thing about it is the fact, that, during the summer season, the lake 
throws on shore abundance of salt ; while, in the winter season, it 
throws up Glauber salt in large quantities. The reason of this is 
left to the scientific to judge, and also what becomes of the enormous 
amount of fresh water poured into it by three or four large rivers — 
Jordan, Bear, and Weber — as there is no visible outlet. 

4. Mud Volcano near the Salt Lake Utah. — A correspondent 
of the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser gives the following description 
of a mud volcano in the vicinity of the great Salt Lake. 

This volcano is in a plain of mud, and on the borders of the lake. 
It is composed of mud, and covers several acres. Steam and water 
are escaping from some half dozen apertures. The mud is raised 
up into cones, the highest not five feet from the general surface. 
They are terminated by tubes, some hardened and lined with crys- 
tals of sulphur and other substances. One of the cones throws 
steam and water ten or fifteen feet into the air. It escapes rapidly, 
and with a sound resembling the escape of steam from the pipe of a 
small steam-engine ; and it ejects hot and cold water at short inter- 
vals. One caldron, some four feet across, boils up until it overflows ; 
then sinks several feet, and again overflows. Nothing is seen but 
a mass of foam ; the water is strongly impregnated with sal-ammo- 
niac. There are other caldrons, from ten to twenty feet in diameter, 
filled to within three or four feet with boiling mud, which is occa- 
sionally thrown out in every direction. About a mile further off is 
another collection of mud cones ; and on the opposite side, an island 
of volcanic rocks rises to the height of fifty feet ; at the foot of it is 
salt in sheets, strongly impregnated with sal-ammoniac ; that from 
the lake is pure, and is used by the Californians. In the vicinity of 
the volcano, we saw several ledges covered with pumice ; and we 
met with it in various other places on the plains. — (This, and the 
preceding, from the American Annual of Scientific Discovery for 

5. Mount Ararat. — On Mount Ararat; by M. Abich. — The 
Great Ararat stands to the south-east of Little Ararat ; and the two 

Mount Ararat. 181 

are situated in the longer axis of an elliptic volcanic system, and at 
the centres of the ellipse. This system occupies a plain, gently in- 
clined to the north-east, which forms the natural slope between the 
high plain of Bajazed and that of the Araxes; the former 865 
yards, the latter 1608 yards in height. The Great Ararat has in 
its upper part the form of a segment of a cone, slightly curved, and 
truncated towards the north-east, opening towards the Araxes. 
Ararat, viewed on the side of the Araxes, is a broad-backed moun- 
tain of imposing grandeur, owing to its breadth, and the wild features 
of the crater-shaped cavity it incloses ; while on the other side it 
has the regular form of a pointed cone. 

The gorge of St James impresses upon Ararat the appearance of 
a great crater of elevation. The interior structure of the mountain 
is here exposed to view, shewing trachytic rocks containing pyrites, 
arranged either in irregular beds or in extensive masses of conglo- 
merates. There are, however, no modern lavas. These are found 
along the longitudinal axis of the system, and form two eruptive 
regions at opposite extremities of the line. That to the north in- 
cludes a conical mountain of regular form, and the whole region 
(called Bipgoell) appears to be a product of successive volcanic erup- 
tions. It terminates in a plain having a height of 3248 metres 
(3552 yards), which is richly covered with vegetation, excepting a 
lava region near its centre. Here are two vast crateriform cavities 
near the place of ejection, looking like deep gulfs of subsidence, and 
exposing a succession of layers of compact lava beds alternating with 
beds of scoriae. On the south side, the volcanic action has opened a 
large gorge in the flanks of the great Ararat, which may be traced 
to the top, making an elongated niche or gorge, which extends down- 
ward and enlarges to its base. Below these is a plain like that of Rip- 
goell, with a similar crateriform pit or gulf. There is a long series 
of cones of eruption upon the eruptive band which communicates 
with the aforesaid gorge, several of which are regular cinder or scorise 
cones, and have ejected streams of lava. Other hills of scoriae have 
no craters. 

The part of the mountain between the two regions of eruptions is 
comparatively easy of ascent. M. Abich made his first attempt on 
the 16th August 1844, but was repulsed by a heavy storm. Again, 
on the 23d, he encountered another terrific storm, accompanied with 
electric discharges of great intensity ; and so powerful was the elec- 
trical movement, that for a long time small phosporescent flames 
were seen going from the extremities of several metallic instruments, 
and fluttering from the iron heads of their canes whenever they gave 
them a vertical position. A. fall of snow continued through the night 
till ten next morning, and covered the whole cone with sleet to more 
than a foot in depth, making the route extremely slippery, and that 
of their ascent thus far nearly impassable. A third attempt was 

182 Petermann and the Franklin Expedition. 

made on the 3d of September ; but was then unsuccessful, on 
account of the ice. 

Again, on the 28th July 1845, M. Abich made his fourth trial, 
and reached the top at noon on the 29th. The top corresponds to the 
most elevated part of the west side of a great crater of elevation. This 
side has the character of a back, with a gently rounded and undulated 
surface, and varied with several low hills, running in a line nearly 
north-east and south-west. The two middle hills are the proper 
top of Ararat ; the left one was visited by Parrot. 

The neck between the great and little Ararat is low and flat, and 
includes a perfectly horizontal plain, about 550 yards broad. The 
debris on the summit of little Ararat consists of fragments of a rock, 
like the Andesite of South America. — (P. 265. March 3, 1851. 
American Journal, Vol. xiii., No. 38, Second Series, p. 269.) 

6. Mr Petermann and the Franklin Expedition. — We have just 
received a copy of an interesting publication, entitled " The Search 
for Franklin; a Suggestion submitted to the British Public, by 
Augustus Petermann, F.R.G.S. ; illustrated by a coloured chart of the 
Polar Basin." We regret, from the late hour when the publication 
reached us, we are prevented from entering into a detailed notice of 
Mr Petermann's proposal, for a spring expedition through the open- 
ing between Spitsbergen and Nova Zembla, as the best entrance 
into the Polar Basin, in some part of which, Mr Petermann thinks 
Franklin and his companions may still be found. We recommend 
this " Suggestion " to the attention of the geographical and general 

7- Phenomena of Vision. — The special function with which the 
retina is endowed being the perception of light, a marvellous range 
of phenomena is open to the inquirer. It is indeed a wonderful thing 
to have ascertained beyond doubt, that in perceiving the tint of the 
scarlet geranium our eyes are affected by undulations recurring from 
four hundred and eighty-two millions of millions of times in a second : 
that before we can appreciate the tint of the yellow blossom of the 
gorse or laburnum, five hundred and forty-two millions of millions 
of vibrations must have taken place ; and that to discriminate the 
colour of the violet, not less than seven hundred and seven millions 
of millions of movements must have been communicated to the fibri- 
leee of our retina ! Whilst such facts almost transcend the powers 
of human conception, their establishment is a striking triumph of 
human intellect. But how great ought to be our admiration of that 
Omnipotence which has endowed the eye with the gift, not merely 
of appreciating one colour, but of distinguishing, in all their shades, 
the inexpressibly complicated vibrations which mark the hues of a 
parterre of flowers, and characterise the gorgeous plumage of the 
birds which give animation to a tropical forest. The sense of sight 
in its ordinary acceptation, may bo defined as the recognition by the 

Vision under Water. 183 

mind of certain impressions made upon the retina, and communicat- 
ed through the medium of the optic nerve to the encephalon ; a 
sound condition of each and all of these parts which may be con- 
sidered as the media of communication, so far as one sense is con- 
cerned, between the external world and the mind, is indispensable 
for perfect vision. Light may fall upon the retina, and the images 
of objects may be there depicted ; but should the optic nerve be un- 
sound, or certain portions of the brain be disorganised, no responsive 
image is called up before the mind ; the eye may gaze upon the 
noonday sun, but all is dark within. 

The natural stimulus of the retina is the luminous rays ; the ap- 
preciation of light and colour its active condition ; and its state of 
repose suggests the appearance of darkness ; but besides light, any 
other excitement applied to the retina or optic nerve gives rise 
to the same result, the production of luminous appearances. Pres- 
sure upon the eyeball, the electric current, or vascular congestion, 
all excite this special phenomenon. Occasionally, too, irritation of 
the brain has the same effect ; and many are the waves and corrus- 
cations, the fiery clouds and flaming spectra, which haunt the amau- 
rotic when certain morbid complications exist. The phantasms of 
fever, and the illusions of the dying, are to be placed in the same 
category with the above. — (Todd's Cyclopedia.') 

8. Vision under Water. — Vision under water is attended with 
some curious consequences, the result of what is termed " internal 
reflection. An eye placed under perfectly still water, as for instance, 
the eye of a diver, will see external objects only through a circular 
aperture (as it were) of 96° 55' 20" in diameter overhead. But all 
objects down to the horizon will be visible in this space ; those near 
the horizon being much distorted and contracted in dimensions, espe- 
cially in height. Beyond the limits of this circle will be seen the 
bottom of the water, and all subaqueous objects reflected and as vi- 
vidly depicted as by direct vision ; and, in addition, the circular 
space above mentioned, will appear surrounded with a rainbow of 
faint but delicate colours. In the eyes of fishes, the humours being 
nearly of the refractive density of the medium in which they live, 
the action of bringing the rays to a focus on the retina is almost en- 
tirely performed by the crystalline lens, which is nearly spherical, 
and of small radius in comparison with the whole diameter of the 
eye; there is also a very great increase of density towards the 
centre, whereby spherical aberration is obviated, the corneal refrac- 
tion having little influence. — flbid.) 

9. Colours most frequently Hit during Battle. — It would appear, 
from numerous observations, that soldiers are hit during battle ac- 
cording to the colour of their dress, in the following order : — Bed is 
the most fatal colour ; the least fatal, Austrian grey. The propor- 
tions are, — Red 12 ; Rifle green 7 ; Brown 6 ; Austrian bluish-grey 5. 


List of Patents granted for Scotland from 24th March to 
22d June 1852. 

1. To Colin Mather, of Salford, in the county of Lancaster, machine- 
maker, and Ernest Rolffs, of Cologne, in the kingdom of Prussia, 
gentleman, " certain improvements in printing, damping, stiffening, 
opening, and spreading woven fabrics." — March 24, 1852. 

2. To Richard Archibald Brooman, of the firm of J. C. Robertson 
and Company, of 166 Fleet Street, in the city of London, patent-agents, 
" improvements in presses and in pressing in centrifugal machinery, and 
in apparatus connected therewith, part or parts of which are applicable to 
various useful purposes ;" being a communication. — March 24, 1852. 

3. To James Melville, of Roebank Works, Lochwinnoch, in the 
county of Renfrew, North Britain, calico-printer, " improvements in 
weaving and printing shawls and other fabrics." — March 29, 1852. 

4. To Alexander Forfar, of Milnathort, in the county of Kinross, 
Scotland, builder, " improvements in ventilation, and in the prevention 
of smoky chimneys." — March 29, 1852. 

5. To Joseph Jones, of Bilston, in the county of Stafford, furnace- 
builder, " certain improvements in furnaces used in the manufacture of 
iron." — March 29, 1852. 

6. To Sir John Scott Lillie, Companion of the Most Honourable 
Military Order of the Bath, of Pall Mall, in the county of Middlesex, 
" certain improvements in the construction or covering of walls, floors, 
roads, footpaths, and other purposes." — April 2, 1852. 

7. To William Watson Pattinson, of Felling, New House, Gates- 
head, manufacturing chemist, " improvements in the manufacture of 
chlorine."— April 2, 1852. 

8. To George Mills, of Southampton, in the county of Hants, engi- 
neer, " improvements in steam-engine boilers, and in steam-propelling 
machinery."— April 2, 1852. 

9. To Alexander Hediard, of Rue Tait-Bout, Paris, France, gentle- 
man, " certain improvements in rotary steam-engines." — April 5, 1852. 

10. To Joseph Pinlott Oates, of Lichfield, in the county of Stafford, 
surgeon, " certain improvements in machinery for manufacturing bricks, 
tiles, quarries' drain-pipes, and such other articles as are or may be made 
of clay, or other plastic substances." — April 6, 1852. 

11. To Sturgis Russell, of No. 8 Bishopsgate Street, in the city of 
London, merchant, " improvements in weaving looms." — April 8, 1852. 

12. To Richard Archibald Brooman, of the firm of J. C. Robertson 
and Company, of 166 Fleet Street, in the city of London, patent- 
agents, " certain improvements in the preparation and treatment of fibrous 
and membranous materials, both in the raw and manufactured state, in 
applying electro- chemical action to manufacturing purposes, and in the 

List of Patents. 185 

manufacture of saline and metallic compounds ;" being a communica- 
tion.— -April 10, 1852. 

13. To Thomas Barnett, of the town of Kingston-upon-Hull, in the 
county of the same town, grocer, "improvements in machinery for grind- 
ing wheat and other grain." — April 13, 1852. 

14. To Charles William Siemens, of Birmingham, in the county of 
Warwick, engineer, " an improved fluid meter, partly his own inven- 
tion."— April 15, 1852. 

15. To Richard Roberts, of Manchester, in the county of Lancaster, 
engineer, " improvements in machinery or apparatus for regulating and 
measuring the flow of fluids ; also for pumping, forcing, agitating, and 
evaporating fluids, and for obtaining motive power from fluids." — April 
16, 1852. 

16. To William Whittaker Collins, of Buckingham Street, Adel- 
phi, in the county of Middlesex, civil engineer, " certain improvements 
in the manufacture of steel." — April 16, 1852. 

17. To John Flack Winslow, of the city of Troy, in the State of 
New York, and United States of America, iron-master, " improvements 
in the machinery for blooming iron." — April 16, 1852. 

18. To William Hyatt, of Old Street Road, in the county of Middle- 
sex, engineer, " improvements in obtaining and applying motive power." 
—April 19, 1852. 

19. To Martyn John Roberts, of Woodbank, Gerard's Cross, Bucks, 
Esquire, " improvements in galvanic batteries, and in obtaining chemical 
products therefrom." — April 19, 1852. 

20. To Francois Joseph Beltrung, of Paris, in the Republic of 
France, engineer, " improvements in the manufacture of bottles and 
jars of glass, clay, gutta percha, or other plastic material, and caps and 
stoppers for the same, and in pressing and moulding the said materials." 
—April 19, 1852. 

21. To John Walter de Longueville Giffard, of Serle Street, Lin- 
coln's Inn, barrister-at-law, u improvements in fire-arms and projec- 
tiles."— April 19, 1852. 

22. To William Gorman, of Glasgow, in the county of Lanark, North 
Britain, engraver, " improvements in obtaining motive power ; which 
improvements, or parts thereof, are applicable for measuring and trans- 
mitting aeriform bodies and fluids." — April 20, 1852. 

23. To William Edward Newton, of the Office for Patents, 66 
Chancery Lane, in the county of Middlesex, civil engineer, " improve- 
ments in the method of, and apparatus for, indicating and regulating the 
heat and the height and supply of water in steam-boilers ; which said im- 
provements are applicable to other purposes, such as indicating and regu- 
lating the heat of buildings, furnaces, stoves, fire-places, kilns, and ovens, 
and indicating the height, and regulating the supply of water, in other 
boilers and vessels ;" being a communication. — April 23, 1852. 

VOL. LIII. NO. CV. — JULY 1852. N 

1N() List of Fa tents. 

24. To Alfred Vincent Newton, of the Office for Patents, 66 Chan- 
cery Lane, in the county of Middlesex, mechanical draughtsman, " im- 
provements in the manufacture of lenses ;" being a communication. — 
April 26, 1852. 

25. To Matthew Wilwin Sears, of 36 Burton Crescent, in the pa- 
rish of St Pancras, in the county of Middlesex, commission agent, " the 
improved construction of guns and cannons, and manufacture of cartridges 
for the loading or charging thereof." — April 26, 1852. 

26. To Stewart M'Glashan, of Edinburgh, Scotland, sculptor, " the 
application of certain mechanical powers to lifting, removing, and pre- 
serving trees, houses, and other bodies." — April 28, 1852. 

27. To Thomas Bell, of Don Alkali Works, South Shields, " im- 
provements in the manufacture of sulphuric acid." — April 28, 1852. 

28. To Alfred Vincent Newton, of the Office for Patents, 66 Chan- 
cery Lane, in the county of Middlesex, mechanical draughtsman, " an 
invention for preventing the incrustation of steam-boilers ; which inven- 
tion is also applicable to the preservation of metals and wood." — April 
28, 1852. 

29. To Alfred Vincent Newton, of the Office for Patents, 66 Chancery 
Lane, in the county of Middlesex, mechanical draughtsman, " improve- 
ments in the method of manufacturing, and in machinery to be used in 
the manufacture of wood-screws, part of which improvements is applicable 
to the arranging and feeding of pins and other like articles ; and also 
improvements in assorting screws, pins, and other articles of various 
sizes ;" being a communication. — April 30, 1852. 

30. To George Frederick Muntz Jun., of Birmingham, "improve- 
ments in the manufacture of metal tubes." — May 3, 1852. 

31. To William Gillespie, of Torbane Hill, in the county of Lin- 
lithgow, Scotland, " an improved apparatus, instrument, or means for 
ascertaining or setting off the slope or level of drains, banks, inclines, or 
works of any description, whether natural or artificial, or under land or 
water."— May 5, 1852. 

32. To William Thomas, of Exe Island, in the county of Devon- 
shire, engineer, " certain improvements in the construction of apparatus 
and machinery for economising fuel in the generation of steam, and in 
machinery for propelling on land and water." — May 5, 1852. 

33. To Julian Bernard, of Guilford Street, Russell Square, in the 
county of Middlesex, gentleman, " improvements in the manufacture of 
leather or dressed skins, of materials to be used in lieu thereof, of boots 
and shoes, and in materials, machinery, and apparatus connected with, 
or to be employed in such manufactures." — May 10, 1852. 

34. To John Campbell, of Borofield, in the county of Renfrew, North 
Britain, bleacher, " improvements in the manufacture and treatment or 
finishing of textile fabrics and materials, and in the machinery or appa- 
ratus used therein." May 10, 1852. 

List of Patents. 187 

35. To Richard Christopher Mansell, of Ashford, in the county of 
Kent, " improvements in the construction of railways, in railway rolling 
stock, and in the machinery for manufacturing the same." — May 10, 

36. To George Leopold Ludwig Kufahl, of Christopher Street, 
Finsbury, London, engineer, "improvements in fire-arms." — May" 11, 


37. To David Dick, of Paisley, in the county of Renfrew, North 
Britain, machine -maker, " improvements in the manufacture and treat- 
ment or finishing of textile fabrics and materials." — May 11, 1852. 

38. To Charles Ewing, of Bodorgan, in the county of Anglesea, 
steward and gardener, " an improved method or methods of construction, 
applicable to architectural and horticultural purposes." — May 11, 1852. 

39. To Anthony Granara, of Leicester Square, in the county of Mid- 
dlesex, hotel-keeper, " improved apparatus for lubricating machinery." — 
May 14, 1852. 

40. To Clemence Augustus Murtz, of Manchester, in the county 
of Lancaster, manufacturing chemist, " an improvement in all prepara- 
tions of every description of madder roots and ground madder, in or from 
whatever country the same are produced, also in munjeet in the root and 
stem from whatever country." — May 17, 1852. 

41. To William Watt, of Glasgow, in the county of Lanark, North 
Britain, manufacturing chemist, "improvements in the treatment and pre- 
paration of flax or other fibrous substances, and the application of some 
of the products to certain purposes." — May 17, 1852. 

42. To Peter Fairbairn, of Leeds, in the county of York, machinist, 
and Peter Swires Horseman, of Leeds, aforesaid, flax-spinner, " cer- 
tain improvements in the process of preparing flax and hemp for the 
purpose of heckling flax, hemp, china, grass, and other vegetable fibrous 
substances." — May 17, 1852. 

43. To William Edward Newton, of the Office for Patents, 66 
Chancery Lane, in the county of Middlesex, civil engineer, " improve- 
ments in the manufacture of coke, and in the application of the gaseous 
products arising therefrom to useful purposes." — May 19, 1852. 

44. To John Harcourt Brown, of Aberdeen, in Scotland, and John 
Macintosh, of the same place, " improvements in the manufacture of 
paper and articles of paper." — May 24, 1852. 

45. To Charles James Pownal, of Addison Road, in the county of 
Middlesex, gentleman, " improvements in the preparation and treatment 
of flax and other fibrous vegetable substances." — May 28, 1852. 

46. To John Weems, of Johnstone, in the county of Renfrew, North 
Britain, tinsmith, " improvements in the manufacture or production of 
metallic pipes and sheets." — May 31, 1852. 

47. To Alexander Johnstone Warden, of Dundee, in the county of 

188 List of Patents. 

Forfar, Scotland, manufacturer, " improvements in the manufacture of 
certain descriptions of carpets." — May 31, 1852. 

48. To Joseph Swan, of Glasgow, in the county of Lanark, North 
Britain, engraver, " improvements in the production of figured surfaces, 
and in printing, and in the machinery or apparatus used therein." — 
June 10, 1852. 

49. To George Searby, of Chelsea, in the county of Middlesex, de- 
corator, being a communication from abroad, " certain improvements in 
apparatus for cutting and carving metal, stone, and other substances." — 
June 11, 1852. 

50. To John Freerson, of Birmingham, " improvements in cutting 
shaping, and pressing metal, and other materials." — June 14, 1852. 

51. To Thomas Twells, of Nottingham, manufacturer, " certain im- 
provements in the manufacture of looped fabrics." — June 14, 1852. 

52. To Andrew Fulton, of Glasgow, in the county of Lanark, North 
Britain, hatter, " improvements in hats and other coverings for the 
head."— June 14, 1852. 

53. To William Newton, of the Office for Patents, 66 Chancery 
Lane, in the county of Middlesex, civil engineer, being a communication 
from abroad, " improvements in machinery for weaving, colouring, and 
marking fabrics." — June 15, 1852. 

54. To James Edward Coleman, of Porchester House, Bays water, in 
the county of Middlesex, gentleman, being a communication from abroad, 
" improvements in materials and apparatus to be employed in parts of 
railways, of engines, and of carriages, and in the application of such 
materials to those purposes, and to the manufacture of textile and other 
mechanism." — June 16, 1852. 

55. To William Hindman, of Manchester, in the county of Lancaster, 
gentleman, and John Warhurst, of Newton Heath, near Manchester, 
cotton-dealer, " certain improvements in the method of generating or 
producing steam, and in the machinery or apparatus connected there- 
with."— June 16, 1852. 

56. To Richard Archibald Brooman, of the firm of J. C. Robertson 
and Company, of 166 Fleet Street, in the. city of London, patent-agents, 
being a communication from abroad, "a reaping machine." — June 17, 

57. To William Gratrix, of Salford, in the county of Lancaster, dyer 
and printer, " certain improvements in the production of designs upon 
cotton and other fabrics." — June 17, 1852. 

58. To James Edward M'CoNNELL,of Wolverton,in the county of Bucks, 
civil engineer, " improvements in steam-engines, in boilers, and other 
vessels for containing fluids, in railways, and in materials and apparatus 
employed therein or connected therewith." — June 18, 1852. 




Biography of Berzelius. By Professor H. Rose of Berlin.* 

On the 7th of August, in the memorable year 1848, died at 
Stockholm, Berzelius, after long and painful suffering, in his 
69th year. 

Distinguished men, who, during a long and active career, 
have enjoyed a great reputation, may have achieved this in 
various ways. 

When a teacher, by his theoretical and practical instruc- 
tion, by an overpowering force of convincing eloquence, draws 
round him a circle of students, whom, by his animating ex- 
ample, he inspires with enthusiasm for his doctrines, — or 
when, by an extraordinary talent for illustration, he renders 
even the most difficult branches of science accessible to the 
inquiring public, or when, by a talented combination of 
known facts, he opens the way to the most fruitful ideas, such 
a man may contribute to the general diffusion of a scientific 
spirit, and otherwise exercise the most beneficial influence. 
But when at the end of his career, we examine whether by 
his removal a void has been left, it will often be found that 
science would, upon the whole, have preserved the same 
boundary if he had not laboured for it. It will often be 
found that his influence upon science, although considerable, 
has only been indirect. 

* Delivered at the Public Meeting of the Academie der Wissenschaften, in 
Berlin, on 3d July 1851 ; it will appear in the course of next year in the Me- 
moirs of the Berlin Academy of Sciences. 


190 Biography of Berzelius. 

On the contrary, there are other specially-gifted men, who, 
possessing in a high degree the talent for investigation, recog- 
nise with marvellous penetration where the aid of experiment 
is needed, and frequently, by a few apparently very simple 
facts, clear up our views in a surprising manner, overthrow 
long-established prejudices, and advance science with gigan- 
tic strides. 

It is rarely that men of the latter kind follow up and com- 
plete their scientific conquests. They generally content 
themselves with having shewn, by their discoveries, in what 
direction the study of details is to be pursued, and, after 
having pointed out the course and the method of filling up the 
gaps, resign the execution of the work to others. 

Such a man was Humphry Davy. There are none who 
will not acknowledge that at the commencement of this 
century, chemical science received through him, by the 
discovery of the metallic nature of the alkalies, a most ex- 
traordinary impulse. But, however industriously and in- 
cessantly he occupied himself for years with experiments con- 
nected with his great discoveries, — experiments which led to 
the development of entirely new views, and enriched in a 
remarkable manner many branches of the science, still he 
was unable to cultivate it in its entire extent. During his 
unfortunately too brief career, while advancing from dis- 
covery to discovery, he had neglected to give his attention to 
the details of the science ; and when he attempted to combine 
chemical facts into a system, and to publish an elementary 
work on chemistry, it soon became evident that he was not 
fully equal to this undertaking ; and of his " Elements of 
Chemical Philosophy," only the first part of the first volume 

But when a man possessed of the most remarkable powers 
of investigation enriches all branches of his science with the 
most important facts, distinguishes himself equally in em- 
pirical and in speculative researches, embracing the whole 
in a philosophic spirit, while, at the same time bringing the 
details into complete systematic order, and, lastly, occupying 
the lofty position of a practical and theoretical teacher of an 
inquiring circle of pupils, he fulfils the highest requirements 

Biography of Berzelius. 191 

of his science in such a degree as to remain in after ages a 
brilliant type of his class. 

Such was Berzelius. It is seldom that all these qualities 
are found united in one man in so high a degree of perfection 
as they were in him. In this respect, and in chemical science 
at least, he has been exceeded by none. 

Since the death of Berzelius several biographies of him 
have appeared, especially in Sweden. All tell how, in his 
childhood and youth, he had to struggle with care and 
poverty, — how he gradually overcame all obstacles, — 'how, 
in spite of his unpropitious external circumstances, he opened 
a way for himself, and entered upon the career for which he 
was destined. 

In an academic eulogium, however, it is before all things 
appropriate to point out the scientific merits of the de- 
ceased member, to shew how much science has been ex- 
tended by him, and how great is the loss it has suffered in 
his death. 

It was exactly at the commencement of this century that 
Berzelius first appeared as an independent investigator. 
Volta had just constructed the electrical pile which bears his 
name, and its astonishing effects occupied in a high degree 
the attention of the men of science of the time. The unex- 
pected chemical phenomena produced by the pile excited the 
interest of chemists fully as much as that of physicists, 
and induced them to multiply experiments with this re- 
markable apparatus. The first investigation made public by 
Berzelius was upon the effects of the electrical pile upon 
saline solutions. In the year 1803, there appeared in Gehlen's 
Neuem. Allg. Journal der Chemie an important paper on this 
subject, the joint production of Berzelius and Hisinger. How- 
ever manifold and remarkable were the results which had 
hitherto been obtained with the Voltaic pile with regard to 
chemical decomposition, still no one had succeeded in dis- 
covering the laws of these phenomena. Berzelius was the first 
to find the thread which could lead with certainty through this 
labyrinth of complicated phenomena. He shewed that sub- 
stances which are liberated at the one pole, have in other 
respects a certain analogy, that all combustible bodies, alka- 


192 Biography of Berzelius. 

lies and earths, were carried to the negative pole, and on the 
contrary, oxygen, acids, and highly oxidised bodies to the 
positive pole. But what particularly proves the admirable 
sagacity of Berzelius is the circumstance that he did not 
allow himself to be led astray by the appearance of the same 
body, sometimes at the positive, sometimes at the negative 
pole, as, for instance, the appearance in the decomposition 
of nitric acid, of nitrogen at the negative, in the decompo- 
sition of ammonia at the positive pole. It was, on the other 
hand, clear to him even at that time that the antitheses be- 
tween the constituents of a chemical compound were only 
relative, and that one and the same body may behave as a 
base to a second, and as an acid to a third. 

Three years after Berzelius had made this important in- 
vestigation public, viz., in 1806, Davy developed similar views 
in a memoir upon some effects of electricity, which has become 
very famous. He extended the experiments considerably, 
prosecuted them with very ingenious apparatus, by means 
of which he succeeded in disproving many erroneous views 
as to the effects of the electric pile, which had at that time 
become general. He particularly explained the peculiar and 
remarkable mode of the transmission of substances from 
one vessel into another ; but in his memoir he does not 
make any mention of the views of Berzelius, which corre- 
sponded with his own ; and Pfaff, who translated Davy's paper 
for Gehlen's Journal, felt it necessary to remark that three 
years previously Berzelius and Hisinger had made known 
all the fundamental principles which Davy now brought for- 
ward as entirely new. 

In 1807, Davy received the prize of 3000 francs, offered 
by the Emperor Napoleon for the best set of experiments 
made during that year on the subject of galvanism. The 
merits of Berzelius and Hisinger were unnoticed. 

After Davy had made known, in October 1807, the im- 
portant discovery of the metallic nature of the alkalies, and 
thus excited in a high degree the attention of scientific men, 
Berzelius also occupied himself with the separation of the 
alkaline metals by means of the voltaic pile. In the spring 
of 1808 he formed, at the same time as Seebeck, who was then 

Biography of Berzelius. 193 

living at Jena, the happy idea of employing mercury as the 
negative pole in the decomposition of the alkalies, which 
were placed at one side in contact with it in a moist state, and 
at the other in contact with the positive conducting wire. 
Berzelius made these experiments in conjunction with 
Pontin. In this way he succeeded in obtaining amalgams 
not only of potassium and sodium, but also of calcium and 
barium. Davy had in vain attempted to exhibit the metals 
of the alkaline earths by the methods which had for- 
tunately yielded him the metals of the fixed alkalies ; he 
could only obtain barium, strontium, and calcium, from 
amalgams prepared according to the method communicated 
to him by Berzelius. 

But the most surprising results were those which Berze- 
lius obtained on decomposing ammonia by the voltaic pile, 
likewise employing mercury as the negative pole. He ob- 
tained the ammoniacal amalgam, respecting the nature of 
which he even then entertained correct views. He had em- 
ployed in this experiment caustic ammonia, while Seebeck, 
at the same time, and in a manner quite similar, obtained 
the amalgam with moistened carbonate of ammonia. Troms- 
dorf also, in conjunction with Gottling, obtained this amal- 
gam at about the same time as Seebeck. 

While at the commencement of his scientific career, Ber- 
zelius thus occupied himself in experimenting with the vol- 
taic pile, he was also led to form a theory of this pile in 
some respects at variance with that of its famous discoverer. 
Volta, in constructing his theory, had not taken into account 
the cliemical activity of the pile, regarding that merely as 
as an effect, and not as the cause of electrical action. Ber- 
zelius as a chemist put forward the opposite view, that the 
electricity of the pile results from the chemical action of the 
moist conductor and the positive metal. This chemical 
theory of the pile found great support, and it is still enter- 
tained by many distinguished physicists, and among them 
even by Faraday. Berzelius, however, unbiassed by prejii- 
dice, candidly returned again to the original view of Volta, 
after having convinced himself of its accuracy by a lengthened 
series of experiments. Long previously to the introduction of 

194 Biography of Berzelius. 

the batteries of Daniell and Grove, he had constructed one 
of zinc, copper, and two liquids, in such a manner that 
the zinc was not attacked by the liquid in contact with it, 
while the copper was briskly oxidised by the other. If now 
the oxidation of one of the metals were the cause of the elec- 
tricity, the copper would have been positive, and the zinc 
negative; consequently the poles of the pile would be reversed. 
Before the circuit was closed, the copper was violently oxi- 
dised and dissolved; but, when the poles were connected, this 
action ceased immediately, and metallic copper was precipitat- 
ed from the liquid upon the copper plate. This experiment 
rendered it obvious to Berzelius that chemical activity could 
not be the cause of the electrical phenomena ; for the former 
ceased when the poles were connected, and the direction of 
the current was that indicated by the principle of contact- 
electricity. These experiments were instituted by Berzelius 
before many physicists had commenced to adopt the chemical 
theory of the pile, and especially long before Fechner en- 
deavoured to prove the truth of the contact theory by his in- 
genious experiments. 

It was not, however, these experiments with the voltaic 
pile which alone, or even principally, occupied the attention 
of Berzelius at the commencement of his career. At the in- 
stigation of Hisinger, who had a particular partiality for the 
chemical part of mineralogy, and to whom, as a geognost 
and mineralogist, Sweden owes so much, Berzelius early 
directed his attention to the quantitative analysis of minerals. 
He candidly admitted in after years, that in the first in- 
stance, when the law of combination in simple definite pro- 
portions was not yet established, he did this chiefly on 
Hisinger 1 s account. But the very first result of an in- 
vestigation of this kind, carried on in conjunction with 
Hisinger, was of the most brilliant kind : it was the dis- 
covery of a new metal, Cerium, during the year 1803, in 
the so-called tungsten of Bastnas, near Biddarhyttan in 

It must be admitted that the discovery of a new metal is 
often the result of mere chance. But it is not every chemist 
who is able, even when greatly favoured by chance, to re- 

Biography of Berzelius. 195 

cognise in a substance obtained in the course of an investi- 
gation, a hitherto unknown element. This requires such a 
perfect knowledge of the known elements as can only be ac- 
quired by many laborious investigations and long expe- 
rience. For this reason new elementary bodies are not 
easily discovered by young chemists, not even by those of 
high talent. The discovery of cerium, which Berzelius 
made in his twenty-third year, shews therefore the great 
and rare sagacity which he displayed even in his first in- 

Klaproth investigated the tungsten of Bastnas simulta- 
neously with Berzelius and Hisinger, and declared that the 
oxide which it contained in combination with silica was new. 
But he overlooked its metallic nature, and, although he ob- 
tained it of a reddish-yellow colour, regarded it as an earth, 
which he called Ochroit earth. The investigation of Berzelius 
and Hisinger was evidently carried out with more precaution 
than that of Klaproth. Not only did the latter overlook the 
partial solubility of the oxide in solutions of alkaline carbo- 
nates, he did not even remark the disengagement of chlorine 
on treating the ignited oxide with hydrochloric acid. It was 
not until afterwards, when, for the second time, he made 
known his investigations upon cerite in the fourth volume of 
his " Beitra^e zur chemischen Kenniniss der Mineral Kor- 
per," which did not appear until 1807, that he mentioned 
the evolution of oxy-muriatic gas on treating the ignited 
oxide with muriatic acid, still, however, without attaching to 
the fact any great weight. Berzelius and Hisinger, on the 
contrary, justly considered this of very special importance, as 
unequivocally pointing out two different stages of oxidation, 
at that time one of the principal means of distinguishing be- 
tween metallic oxides and earths, which were then regarded 
as simple bodies. Gehlen also directed attention to this point 
in a remark upon the paper of Berzelius and Hisinger. Fur- 
ther, he was fortunate enough to accomplish, with the aid of 
Hjelm, the reduction of the oxide, and to obtain the metal in 
an isolated, although not in a melted state. 

When Berzelius subsequently undertook the determination 
of the equivalent weights of almost all the elementary bodies 

106 Bioyraphy of Berzelius. 

by means of a long series of experiments, he resigned the 
i .nation of the equivalent of cerium to Hisinger, and did not 
occupy himself more specially with this metal. Thus pro- 
bably the discovery of the oxides of two other metals, accom- 
plished by Mosander, thirty-six years after that of cerium, 
escaped him. 

Besides the examination of cerite, Berzelius undertook at 
that time the investigation of other new and interesting mine- 
rals. But during the first period of his scientific activity he was 
chiefly occupied in an entirely different branch of chemistry. 
Berzelius* first avocation in the world, by which, poor as 
he was, he had to earn his livelihood, was that of physician. 
He naturally sought in this profession for those occupations 
especially in which sound chemical knowledge was indispen- 
sable. Thus he examined several of the natural mineral 
waters of Sweden, and these investigations, although inferior 
to those of a similar nature which he subsequently carried 
out, especially that most excellent of them all on the Carlsbad 
water, still in every respect belong to the best of their time. 
In consequence of these investigations he established in Stock- 
holm a manufactory for preparing these waters artificially. 

But it was quite natural that as physician he should be 
induced to take up the study of animal chemistry. What 
he achieved in this branch of chemistry, and indeed within a 
short space of time, is extraordinary, opening as it were an 
entirely new field in this department of organic chemistry. 

Before Berzelius' time animal chemistry was treated nearly 
in the same manner as that of inorganic bodies ; the con- 
stituents of the animal body were arranged in certain classes, 
and described merely as objects of chemical decomposition, 
perhaps with a few general remarks as to their functions 
in animal life. This mode of treatment is, in a scientific point 
of view, totally valueless. Berzelius endeavoured to com- 
bine anatomical with chemical investigations, so as to tend 
to. a common end, in order in this to give to experiments 
a higher scientific connection, and to direct the attention of 
the chemist to the physiological aspect of the subject. 

In this spirit he investigated almost all parts of the animal 
body, solids and fluids, certainly only qualitatively, as at the 

Biography of Berzelius. 197 

commencement of this century there did not exist the most 
remote knowledge of those methods for the quantitative ele- 
mentary analysis of organic substances, which have only been 
subsequently brought to a high state of perfection, especially 
by the labours of Berzelius himself, and afterwards by those 
of Liebig. But the investigations in animal chemistry car- 
ried out at that time by Berzelius, remain as examples for 
imitation at the present day, and have never been excelled. 
It is scarcely credible how much the very accurate results 
of his investigations differ from those which were obtained 
at the same time by other chemists, and solely because their 
investigations were undertaken from a one-sided point of view, 
and without any high scientific purpose. Beside Berzelius, 
the only chemist of that time who entered upon these inves- 
tigations from a physiological point of view, was Fourcroy, 
but his results vary the most widely of all from those of Ber- 
zelius, since from scattered, uncertain, superficial, and often 
w-holly incorrect observations, he drew general and extended 
inferences, although certainly in a very ingenious manner, 
and by his attractive illustration led the way to the greatest 
errors. In order to recognise the high superiority of Berze- 
lius over Fourcroy in this respect, it is only necessary to 
compare the investigations of the latter upon blood, especially 
its red colouring matter, with that instituted by Berzelius on 
the same subject only a short time afterwards. 

Berzelius made known his investigations in animal che- 
mistry in the form of lectures, the first of which appeared 
in 1806 ; the second in 1808. Besides this, the most im- 
portant examinations of separate animal substances ap- 
peared in the Afhandlingar i Fysik, Kemi och Mineralogi, 
and in Gehlen's Journal. He gave a masterly review of his 
labours in animal chemistry, compared with what was pre- 
viously known on the subject, in a speech delivered upon the 
occasion of his vacating the presidentship of the Stockholm 
Academy of Sciences. It is there the custom annually to select 
from among the members of the Academy, a new president, 
who, in vacating his office, must deliver a scientific disser- 
tation, which is printed. This is, indeed, frequently the only 
means of compelling members to publish their researches. 

198 Biography of Berzellus. 

Within the first period of Berzelius' scientific activity, two 
other investigations were carried out, which for that time 
were of the greatest importance. They were on the reduc- 
tion of silica, and the composition of cast iron. 

Although Berzelius had succeeded in obtaining the metals 
of the alkaline earths in combination with mercury, by means 
of the voltaic pile, he was unable to separate in a similar 
manner the radical of silica from its oxygen. In order, 
however, to satisfy himself that silica had a composition 
similar to the earths, he instituted a series of interesting ex- 
periments for the purpose of uniting the radical of silica 
with metals, especially iron, by mixing iron filings with 
carbon and silica, and exposing the whole to an intense heat, 
by means of which he obtained reguli which contained, toge- 
ther with silicium, carbon. He then found approximative^ 
the quantity of oxygen present in silica, by estimating the 
quantity of iron and carbon, the latter certainly by a some- 
what unsafe method. The remark which he makes at the 
close of his paper, published in 1810, is well worthy of no- 
tice. After having described his numerous experiments on 
the quantity of oxygen in silica, which throughout had not 
given very closely corresponding results, he concludes with 
these words : " I consider it moreover as unimportant to 
determine with precision the per-centage of oxygen or 
radical in silica, since I am unable at the present time to 
perceive either theoretical or practical advantage to be 
gained by this accuracy." A few years later he would not 
have expressed himself in this manner. 

Another investigation important for this period was into the 
composition of crude iron. At the commencement of the 
present century, singular ideas of its composition had been 
formed. It was supposed that oxygen generally existed in iron 
associated with carbon ; and, indeed, an Essay, in which the 
quantity of oxygen in crude iron was supposed to have been 
demonstrated, obtained a prize. This view was principally 
founded upon the circumstance, that on treating crude iron 
with non-oxidising acids, less hydrogen was obtained than 
with an equal weight of malleable iron. Berzelius proved 
that in this case an oleaginous hydro -carbon was produced, 

Biography of Berzelius. 199 

and shewed, with the greatest certainty, there could not pos- 
sibly be any oxygen in crude iron. He determined the quantity 
of carbon by converting it into carbonic acid. Subsequently 
he attempted to estimate the carbon directly, by dissolving 
the iron through the agenc}^ of chloride of silver or chloride 
of copper. At that time attention had not been directed to 
the difference between the chemically combined and the me- 
chanically intermixed carbon or graphite. This was not re- 
cognised until subsequently by Karsten, who also proved 
that graphite consisted of carbon alone, and contained no 
iron. While prosecuting the analysis of crude iron, Berzelius 
made several interesting observations ; thus, among others, 
he was led to propose the use of benzoic acid as a means of 
separating peroxide of iron from protoxide of manganese and 
magnesia, instead of the then more costly succinic acid re- 
commended by Gehlen. He further shewed, that on treat- 
ing crude iron with nitric acid, an extractive substance, having 
the most perfect resemblance to the extract of vegetable 
mould, is produced from the carbon of the iron. He also 
accidentally discovered during this analysis the interesting 
double salt of persulphate of iron and sulphate of ammonia, 
the composition of which he was the first to determine qualita- 
tively with accuracy. This salt he at first regarded as alum, 
on account of the form, though he found no alumina in it. 
He moreover pointed out that the silica which he obtained 
after the solution of the iron did not exist in the crude iron as 
such, but as silicium. However important the various facts 
ascertained during this investigation might be, still Berzelius 
was not fully satisfied w r ith the results obtained, since he could 
not rely upon the correctness of the method which he had 
employed for the quantitative determination of carbon nor of 
magnesia, whose presence in the solution of crude iron he had 
proved. On this account, he published his investigation 
under the modest title of Attempt to Analyse Crude Jron. 

I now come to the most important period of Berzelius' 
scientific activity. His previous achievements were owing 
more to fortunate chance than to any leading ideas. He was, 
to a certain extent, incited by the scientific interest of the 
time to take up the galvanic investigations, by the friendly 

200 Biography of F>er:ch'<ts. 

intercourse with Hisinger to enter on the ehemieo-mincralogi- 
cal, and, finally, by his professional position to engage in those 
on animal chemistry. Towards the end of the first decennium, 
however, he was led, especially by the investigations of Davy, 
to the study of the simple chemical proportion sin which bodies 
generally combine with each other, and from this time ap- 
plied all his energies to this subject. The activity which he 
now developed, under the guiding influence of a great idea, 
w as in fact gigantic ; for, after the lapse of only a few years, 
he established, to the amazement of his contemporaries, the 
complete theory of combining proportions, a subject the 
details of which he laboured constantly in perfecting and 
improving during the remainder of his life. It may safely 
be affirmed, that it was only from this time that che- 
mistry became in truth one of the exact sciences ; for from 
the collection of empirical facts which had hitherto borne 
the name of chemistry, the universal law now first developed 
itself, according to which bodies enter into chemical com- 

Berzelius is not, properly speaking, the first discoverer of 
the doctrine of chemical proportions. It generally happens 
in all sciences that great laws are not suddenly discovered 
by one investigator, but are gradually recognised.* 


During the previous century chemists who had occupied 
themselves with the phenomena of the so-called chemical 
affinity, made several observations which incontrovertibly 
proved that there was a strict uniformity and order in the 
chemical combination of bodies. These men were especially 
Bergman in Sweden, Kirwan in Dublin, Wenzel in Dresden, 
and, above all, Richter in Berlin. The latter two had indeed 
come to the conclusion, that acids and alkaline bodies must 
combine in definite proportions, because in the double de- 
composition of neutral salts neutral products are formed. 

* Owing to the great indistinctness of the MS., a long sentence, which ap- 
pears very involved and confused, is left out. The want of it, however, does 
imt affect the sense of the text. 

Biography of Berzelius. 201 

But when it was attempted to prove this preconceived law 
by demonstrating the composition of the decomposed salts, 
all the proofs brought forward were either altogether in- 
sufficient or very incomplete, — a circumstance resulting from 
the then imperfect methods of separation, by means of which 
it was impossible to attain to such accurate analyses that 
the calculated results of the decomposition of two neutral 
salts could correspond with experiment. 

The attention of chemists was soon diverted from this 
subject when in the eightieth year of the past century the 
theories of Lavoisier gave a new direction to the whole science. 
The attack upon the phlogistic theory, and the establishment 
of the antiphlogistic system, took undivided possession of all 
thinking minds. None had time to occupy themselves with 
any other than the qualitative changes which bodies under- 
went by their mutual decomposition. It was also necessary 
that Lavoisier's theory should have gained a complete ascen- 
dency before the doctrine of simple chemical proportions could 
be fully recognised and appreciated. 

In addition to this, the development by Berthollet, one of 
the most gifted chemists of the time, of a theory apparently 
in total opposition to that of definite chemical proportions, 
tended to withdraw attention from the latter. Berthollet 
endeavoured to prove, that bodies which possess an affinity 
for each other are capable of combining in all proportions 
between certain maximum and minimum quantities, and that 
when the combination took place in definite proportions this 
was owing to special circumstances, particularly the power 
of crystallising or of cohering in any form, in consequence of 
which compounds could separate from a solution, as precipi- 
tates or crystals ; or else owing to the expansion taking place 
on passing into the gaseous state, by which they removed 
themselves from the sphere of action of solid or fluid 
bodies. The most important law established by Berthollet 
was, however, that of the so-called chemical mass, according 
to which the deficiency of a body in chemical affinity may be 
replaced or made up for by increasing its quantity : and it is 
indisputable that this law, although it has latterly been more 
and more forgotten, is perfectly correct. 

202 Hiixjraphii of Berzelius. 

The first of these principles, established by Berthollet, viz., 
that all chemical combinations are possible between a certain 
maximum and minimum, and in indefinite proportions, was 
immediately disputed by Proust, who endeavoured, by means 
of many ingenious experiments, to shew that every chemical 
combination took place in definite proportions, and that 
between it and the nearest allied combination there was 
a certain interval within which there was no intermediate 

Berthollet' s views were at that time apparently supported 
by the numerous erroneous representations of the composi- 
tion of the most important compounds. Likewise the ex- 
periments which he made, or caused to be instituted, in order 
to disprove the assertions of Proust were far from being ade- 
quate. Proust's experiments were certainly in most cases 
more correct, although not in such a degree as to place his 
views beyond all doubt. 

However, sometime after the analogy in composition be- 
tween the alkalies and metallic oxides was proved by Davy's 
important discovery, the attention of Berzelius was also 
drawn to the quantitative relations in which bodies com- 
bined with each other. It was the chemical nature of am- 
monia, which, in the first instance led him to enter upon this 
gigantic investigation. After the discovery of oxygen in the 
alkalies, the conjecture that all saline bases, and consequently 
ammonia, contained this element, was not unnatural. This 
view received a still greater probability by the discovery of 
the ammoniacal amalgam. 

Berzelius now commenced a series of investigations for 
the purpose of determining the quantity of oxygen in alkalies 
and earths, by oxidising with water the basic metal in a 
weighed quantity of the amalgams which he first learnt how 
to prepare, then combining the oxide produced with hydro- 
chloric acid, and in accordance with the then received views 
of the composition of chlorides, found the quantity of acid in 
the salt, and by the loss the quantity of oxygen in the base 

On subjecting ammonia to the same process he was not 
able either to isolate the ammoniacal metal, or to combine it 

Biography of Berzelius. 203 

with the mercury in such a quantity as to obtain a result. 
He then endeavoured to attain his purpose by the direct de- 
termination of the oxygen supposed to exist in ammonia. He 
wished to make an application of the discovery made by 
Bergman in his work " De di versa phlogisti quantitate in 
metallis, 1 ' that when one metal separates another in a metallic 
state, from solution in an acid, the metal suffering solution 
yields precisely the same amount of phlogiston as the one pre- 
viously dissolved requires in order to assume the metallic 
form ; that a certain acid in dissolving metals expels equal 
quantities of phlogiston from the different metals ; or to ex- 
press the same in the language of the antiphlogistic system, 
that when a certain quantity of any acid combines with dif- 
ferent metallic oxides, forming neutral salts, the oxides must 
contain an equal and invariable quantity of oxygen. 

But in order to be able to apply this law of Bergman with 
perfect certainty, unassailable proofs of its perfect accuracy 
were necessary. Those, indeed, which Richter had given 
could not be regarded as at all admissible. Berzelius now 
compared his analyses of potash, soda, and lime with Bucholz's 
analysis of oxide of silver, and that made by my father of 
oxide of mercury ; and he found in fact that the quantity of 
these bases which saturate the same quantity of hydrochloric 
acid, forming a neutral salt, contained, with very slight devia- 
tions, the same quantity of oxygen. But w r hen he came to 
examine other metallic oxides and combinations with muriatic 
acids, the results obtained were so much at variance (perhaps 
on account of many erroneous premises which he assumed) 
with the principle of Bergman, that he was compelled to 
ascribe the want of correspondence either to his own want of 
dexterity in experimenting, or to an erroneous application of 
Bergman's laws. Since, however, careful repetition of his 
experiments gave results corresponding closely with those 
first obtained, he began to entertain doubts of the correctness 
of Bergman's law. When, again, he subsequently found that 
metallic sulphurets, on being perfectly oxidised by nitric acid, 
yielded neutral sulphates of the oxide, without any excess 
either of metallic oxide or sulphuric acid, he felt compelled 
to return again to the opinion which he had abandoned. At 

204 Biography of Berzelius. 

the same time he observed that metals unite with double 
(exactly or very nearly) as much sulphur as oxygen, and that 
by a simple rule of three, the capacity of combination of any 
metal for sulphur may be calculated from its oxide, or the 
contrary. He was now again led to study the mutual de- 
composition of neutral salts, and he finally succeeded in prac- 
tically demonstrating, from the composition of several salts, 
the neutrality of those resulting from their decomposition. 

I feel myself justified in mentioning the following cir- 
cumstance, although somewhat of a personal character. Ber- 
zelius, after being unable to prove by calculation the neu- 
trality of salts mutually decomposing each other, while basing 
his calculations upon the data of incorrect analysis, was 
often nearly abandoning the perplexing subject, but was in- 
duced by a paper of my father, upon the relation of the 
constituents of neutral muriates (published by him in 1806, 
a year before his death, in the 6th volume of " Gehlen's 
Neuem. Allg. Journal" p. 22), to persevere. My father had, 
in the first place, by at least one example, practically demon- 
strated, that by the decomposition of two neutral salts, mu- 
riate of baryta and sulphate of soda, according to his own 
analysis of them, and of the two salts resulting from the 
decomposition, and by calculation, results were obtained, 
which proved that the neutrality could not be disturbed. 

Berzelius now considered it necessary, in order to attain 
to certain results, to investigate anew the composition of the 
most important compounds with extreme care, repeating the 
analyses several times before venturing to employ their re- 
sults in the extension of his views. He remarked very justly, 
that, on account of the unchangeable neutrality of two salts 
decomposing each other, it was only necessary to ana- 
lyse, with sufficient accuracy, all salts formed for example 
by sulphuric acid, and all those whose base is baryta, in 
order to be able, by a simple rule of three, to calculate the 
composition of all other salts, because these two series con- 
tain the three numbers which are necessary in order to find 
the fourth. 

Berzelius now ventured upon an herculean task, which he 
prosecuted for many years with the most indefatigable in- 

Biography of Berzelius. 205 

dustry, and for a long time without any help. He re-exa- 
mined every important chemical compound with the most 
admirable care and exactness. In this work, especially, he 
displayed rare talent, selecting, with the most extraordinary 
acuteness, those bodies which were the best adapted for in- 
vestigation. He published an account of his labours, or 
rather the commencement of them, in the third part of the 
" Afhandlingar i Fysik, Kemi och Mineralogi" for 1810. 
They first appeared in German in 1811, in Gilbert's Annalen, 

In these investigations, theory was constantly the touch- 
stone employed to test the accuracy of the results, to at- 
tain which he was frequently obliged to vary his experiments 
almost endlessly. He was, in the first instance, compelled to 
improve the analytical methods, and to abandon many of 
those in use at that time, and by this means he was gradually 
led to those views which are now received by all chemists. 

The most distinguishing characteristic of Berzelius's mode 
of working was, that with the most insignificant means at 
his command, he still succeeded in obtaining the most bril- 
liant results. When he entered upon his great investigation, 
he was in possession of very small pecuniary means, he was 
in a condition almost of want, and without public support, 
which, considering the isolated situation of Sweden, must have 
been especially depressing and unfavourable. The difficulties 
against which he had then to contend were, in fact, enormous. 
At that time it was not possible to purchase in Stockholm 
pure reagents, as in Berlin ; scarcely any chemical manufac- 
tories existed in the country, and, to import reagents from 
abroad, for instance from Germany, was often scarcely pos- 
sible, on account of the difficulty of communication, especially 
during the war, and was at all times expensive and tedious. 
I have myself been a witness how Berzelius, even during the 
winter of 1820, while carrying out his important investiga- 
tion of ferrocyanogen and ferrocyanide of potassium (which 
had long been procurable in Germany for a small sum per 
pound), was obliged to prepare this salt by the gramme, and 
indeed from a very bad material, the very impure Prussian 
blue of the shops. He was obliged to distil the spirit, the 
use of which in lamps he introduced, from ordinary brandy, 


206 Biogv<<i>lni of Berzelius. 

and to prepare the most important acids himself, or to purify 
those which could be bought. , urf 

But it seems as if it was precisely those obstacles which 
would have discouraged and overcome any ordinary mind, that 
urged him on more perseveringly in his course. This is, more- 
over, a circumstance which has often occurred, and especially 
in Sweden. 1 need only call to mind Scheele, who almost 
made impossibilities possible. 

Berzelius, in the first place, altered the methods of Kla- 
proth, which at that time were the best, in so far especially 
that he employed considerably smaller quantities. The 
usual quantity operated upon by Klaproth and other che- 
mists was rather more than five grammes ; Berzelius never 
took more than two or three grammes, generally less, deter- 
mining this quantity, of course, according to the nature of 
the constituents of the body to be examined. By employing 
more delicate balances, which Berzelius first introduced into 
use in chemistry, and by adequate care, results are obtained 
with a small quantity, which are at least quite as accurate, 
while they are obtained in much shorter time. 

The spirit-lamp, with double draught, was likewise intro- 
duced into use by Berzelius. Formerly the ignition even of 
the smallest quantities of a substance was effected over a 
charcoal fire. He was also the first to make use of the 
small platinum crucible in which substances could be both 
ignited and weighed, and by the use of which considerably 
greater accuracy was insured, and the absorption of moisture 
as far as possible prevented. The filter containing the preci- 
pitate was always burnt when possible, and the ignited sub- 
stance weighed together with the ash of the paper ; a saving 
of time and trouble for which we are indebted to Mr d'Ohsson, 
who worked in Berzelius' laboratory. It was on this account 
that a paper was employed which left after combustion 
but a very minute quantity of ash, and which was made of 
excellent quality in Sweden, because there are springs there 
rising through granite, the water of which is almost free 
from fixed substances. The general introduction of this 
Swedish paper, to the manufacture of which Berzelius paid 
great attention, is also owing to him. 

Biography of Berzelius. 207 

The use of appropriate funnels, &c, as well as an immense 
number of other convenient applications originating with 
him, have contributed to render the results of analyses much 
more exact, and have much simplified the methods them- 

Berzelius had moreover — and it is no slight merit — trans- 
ferred chemical investigations in which charcoal fires were 
not necessary, from the damp kitchen, or cellar-like cold 
laboratory, into the comfortable dwelling-room. The present 
generation have scarcely an idea of the discomforts which 
were then connected with chemical researches. It certainly 
required no little scientific enthusiasm, during the severe 
winters of our northern climate, to remain in a place where 
there was the greatest absence of comfort, and which was 
even prejudicial to the health. But it was at that time 
thought that a laboratory with a stone floor was indispen- 
sably necessary even for trifling chemical operations. 

The small caoutchouc tubes, by means of which experi- 
ments with gases may be so easily and safely conducted, and 
which, indeed, alone render many inquiries possible, were 
early employed by Berzelius in his investigations. Whoever 
has in former times conducted the disengagement of a gas will 
remember the unpleasantness of working with brittle glass 
tubes, and how easily an experiment miscarried from the 
slightest want of care. It was Berzelius who first rendered 
glass tubes, as it were, flexible, and they could then be em- 
ployed in constructing the most complicated apparatus. 

Possessing only the most scanty means, he was led to all 
those improvements by actual necessity. He took advantage 
of every opportunity to perfect himself in mechanical art. 
He was master of glass-blowing, which he learnt from a 
travelling Italian ; he was familiar with turning, glass-grind- 
ing, &c. He made the greater part of his own instruments ; 
and notwithstanding the isolated position of his native 
country, was thus enabled to construct those ingenious 
forms of apparatus by means of which he so infinitely ad- 
vanced the study of chemistry. 

I had the good fortune during my youth to assist the meri- 
torious Klaproth in his chemical investigations, certainly only 


208 Biography of Berzelius. 

during his latter years, in the summer of 1816, when his 
labours were often interrupted by repeated attacks of illness. 
I was therefore enabled, while afterwards working for several 
years in the laboratory of Berzelius, to compare the different 
manner in which Klaproth and Berzelius worked. Their 
methods had exactly the same relation to each other as the 
respective accuracy of their results. 

Even previously to Berzelius, Dalton had, in his new Sys- 
tem of Chemical Philosophy, attempted to express numerically 
the relative quantities in which bodies generally combine, and, 
as he regarded bodies as consisting of atoms, by this means 
to establish as it were the relative weights of the ultimate 

atoms. Thus originated the doctrine of so-called atomic 
• i 1 

w pi o'hts 

lo Dalton, therefore, belongs the great merit of having 
given the correct idea of that which is now universally called 
atom in chemistry. Richter had previously employed in a 
similar sense the name relative mass (massentheil), in order 
to express the different quantities of acid and base which 
combine together forming salts ; however, his idea was not 
so material as that of Dalton, and this character was necessary 
for giving it that perfect clearness, indispensable, if a theory 
was to be founded upon it. The long and obstinate opposi- 
tion which was made to the idea of atoms, such as must be 
employed in chemistry, by German philosophers, and the war 
waged against the atomic view of the composition of bodies, 
with all the weapons of logical acumen, for a long time rather 
obstructed than favoured the advancement and spread of 
the exact sciences, especially chemistry. Now that the atomic 
theory is adopted by all, every one will certainly make use of 
the word atom, in order to explain the phenomena with ease 
and simplicity. 

Dalton assumed that simple substances combined in equal 
atoms, and, indeed, atom with atom, when there was only 
one compound of the two elements ; if several, one atom of 
one substance combined with one, two, three, or more atoms 
of another. The first conception of these so-called multiple 
proportions originated properly with Higgins, who made it 
known as early as 1789, in a work on the subject. But the 

Bioqraphy of Berzelius. 209 

most important experiments, by which the theory of Dalton 
was proved, were instituted by Wollaston, who published in 
the year 1814 his ingenious scale of chemical equivalents. 

When the numbers made use of by Dalton are compared 
with those which Berzelius deduced from his own accurate 
experiments, differences are found similar to those existing 
between these latter and those given by Richter. The num- 
ber of analyses upon which Dalton had founded his arguments 
was too small, and moreover they had not been executed with 
very great accuracy. 

In the selection of a substance which should be taken as 
unity, so as to make the atomic weights found, comparable 
with each other, chemists hesitated between hydrogen and 
oxygen. Dalton chose hydrogen, and took it as =1 since its 
atom is the lightest of all the elements. Many chemists fol- 
lowed his example on this account, especially after Prout had 
subsequently attempted to shew that the atomic weights of 
all simple bodies were multiples of that of hydrogen. Richter 
had long before entertained a similar view, inasmuch as he as- 
sumed that the equivalents of all bases form an arithmetical, 
those of acids a geometrical progression. Nevertheless, Ber- 
zelius and Wollaston took oxygen as unity, because it was the 
most widely-distributed of all the elements, and existed in most 
compound substances. By adopting oxygen as unity, all cal- 
culations were greatly simplified. Berzelius took it as = 100, 
Wollaston = 10. Berzelius remained true to his opinion 
to the last, and always declared himself against that of Prout, 
even when in, 1840, it was again adopted by Dumas, who at- 
tempted to prove its truth for at least a few elements by 
actual experiment. It is true that the atomic weights of 
several of the non-metallic elements appear to be multiples of 
that of hydrogen, but it has not been possible to maintain 
Prout' s views as regards others. So long as we are ignorant 
whether this correspondence is merely accidental, or actually 
a law of nature we must suspend a decision. 

In the determination of the number of atoms in compound 
bodies, Berzelius proceeded with great caution. Dalton and 
others, who had put forward the view that substances com- 
bine, especially in such proportions that one atom of the one 

210 Il'ioijraphii of BerzeUus. 

element unites with one atom of another, assumed also that 
when, for example, several oxides of an element existed, the 
oxygen atoms of the higher oxides were multiples of the oxy- 
gen in the lowest oxide. But when only one oxide was 
known, it was obviously very hazardous to assume that it 
consisted of equal atoms of both elements, without taking 
any notice of the other relations of this compound. Berze- 
lius studied all the circumstances with the greatest attention ; 
and the caution, as well as penetrating tact with which he 
proceeded, are evident from the fact, that, when subse- 
quently, Mitscherlich, by his important discovery of Isomor- 
phism, furnished an admirable means of recognising with 
certainty bodies having similar atomic composition, it was not 
necessary for Berzelius to make any alteration in his views. 

Only upon one occasion did he feel himself compelled to 
modify his views regarding the arrangement of atoms in 
compound bodies. On the first establishment of his system, 
he was of opinion that in the simple compounds, such as 
oxides, there must be the most simple proportion, and that of 
two atoms of the radical to three of oxygen appeared to him 
to be too complex. Since in the oxides of iron the oxygen 
was in the proportion of two to three, he assumed that per- 
oxide of iron consisted of one atom of metal and three atoms 
of oxygen, the protoxide and all those similar to it as con- 
sisting of one atom metal and two atoms oxygen. It was 
not until later in the year 1827, that Berzelius, particularly 
influenced by the proportions of the elements in the oxides 
of manganese, chromium, and sulphur, decided upon assum- 
ing, that, in the strongly basic, or so-called electro-positive 
oxides, there was but one atom of metal and one atom of 
oxygen, and, consequently, that the atomic weights formerly 
adopted by him must be reduced to one half. The higher 
oxides, such as peroxide of iron, would then contain three 
atoms of oxygen to two atoms of metal. 

At that time, Berzelius adopted the view, that when a 
simple body is converted into the gaseous state, one volume 
of the gas corresponds to an atom. For this reason, water 
was alywas regarded by him as being composed of one atom 
oxygen and two atoms hydrogen. He held this opinion 

Biography of Berzelius. 211 

firmly, and disputed the hypotheses of Thomson, Dalton, and 
other chemists, who assumed that in two volumes of hydro- 
gen there were as many atoms as in one volume of oxygen. 
Subsequently, when by the direct determination of the spe- 
cific weights of sulphur, phosphorus, and mercury vapours, 
made by Dumas and Mitscherlich, this assumption of Ber- 
zelius was not generally confirmed, he limited its application 
to the permanent gases alone. 

He was on this account compelled frequently to assume 
two atoms where other chemists assumed only one atom. 
He therefore introduced double atoms in those cases where 
they were the equivalent for one atom of another substance. 
Many chemists, especially in Germany, have not followed 
this view ; and Leop. Gmelin, in the last edition of his 
" Handbucli" as well as Liebig and his followers, have com- 
menced to take the atomic weights of hydrogen, nitrogen, 
chlorine, bromine, iodine, fluorine, and phosphorus, as double 
those adopted by Berzelius, and many French chemists also 
entertain this view. The assumption that the so-called equi- 
valents are identical in meaning with the term atoms, has 
indeed so much probability, that the agreement of so many 
chemists in this respect cannot be remarkable. 

Notwithstanding this, Berzelius continued to the last to 
adhere to his old atomic weights, and the reasons which, in 
the last edition of his Lehrbuch, he has assigned for doing 
this, are so strong, that they cannot well be set aside. These 
he derives especially from the isomorphism of perchlorates 
and permanganates as proved by Mitscherlich, and from which 
it follows that a double atom of chlorine can replace a double 
atom of manganese. Since, however, manganese is in its com- 
pounds isomorphous with iron and chromium, for instance, 
in the alums, and since chromium in chromates has the same 
form as sulphates, a simple atom of chlorine must be able to 
replace an atom of sulphur. But if perchloric acid consists 
of a double atom of chlorine, combined with seven atoms of 
oxygen, then the hypochlorous acid contains only one atom 
oxygen, combined with the same quantity of chlorine as in the 
perchloric ; and as hypochlorous acid consists of two volumes 
chlorine and one volume oxygen, the volumes of the two ele- 

212 Jjioifraphif of Berzelhin. 

ments must correspond with the simple atoms. Moreover, 
since it appears to have been proved, by often -repeated ex- 
periments with organic bodies, that their hydrogen can be 
replaced by an equal volume of chlorine, a simple, and not a 
double, atom of hydrogen must be able to replace one atom 
of oxygen or sulphur. 

Even if it does sometimes happen that we not find conclu- 
sions of this kind confirmed by experience, if in the replace- 
ment of one body by another in compounds, an element, as 
for instance potassium, may be replaced by a compound 
radical such as ammonium, still it is not admissible to 
assume that such substitutions as may be theoretically in- 
ferred from the similarity in atomic weight, or atomic vo- 
lume, really do take place, without the authority of repeated 
experiment. It is certainly convenient to regard equivalent 
and atom as synonymous terms, although not truly appro- 
priate in a scientific view. d^ihxiiao'i eiom aifi «jjw alodm^a 

For the purpose of expressing the proportions in which 
bodies combine chemically, Berzelius, so early as the year 
1815, employed certain signs as symbols for the different 
elements; Such signs were employed long before this in 
chemistry, or rather alchemy, although they were then of 
little value. These symbols undoubtedly owed their origin 
to the mysterious relation between planets and metals as- 
sumed by the alchemists, and the pleasure which they took 
in expressing themselves in a manner unintelligible to the 
people. Berzelius would not adopt the old symbols, not 
only because they were, in fact, destitute of all significance, 
but likewise because it is certainly easier to write the ab- 
breviation of a word than to draw a figure. The symbols of 
Berzelius, however, serve to express the chemical combining 
proportions, and the chemical formulae furnish a means of 
representing the numerical results of an analysis witli all 
the simplicity of an algebraical formula. 

The system of symbols introduced by Berzelius has met 
with such universal recognition, on account of its extraor- 
dinary convenience, that there is probably no chemist who 
does not now employ it ; and this renders it the more remark- 
able, that the opposition made to this innovation was at first 

Biography of Berzelius. 213 

so considerable. A French philosopher exchanged the sym- 
bols proposed by Berzelius, for the initial letters of the 
French names for the elements. But it was in England that 
the greatest opposition was made to the adoption of the 
chemical formulae of Berzelius. Even so late as 1822, an 
English chemist, speaking of them, said, " they are calculated 
more to produce misunderstanding and mystification than 
clearness, since they are of a nature totally different from 
algebraical formulae ; it would be easier to express oneself 
in ordinary words than with these symbols, which only make 
a kind of mathematical parade." Berzelius replied to the 
partly rude and uncourteous objections with dispassionate 
clearness and composure. Who would now consider it pos- 
sible to dispense with the use of these " abominable sym- 
bols" of Berzelius, as they were termed by the editor of an 
English journal ? The opposition to the introduction of these 
symbols was the more remarkable, since Dalton, in putting 
forward his atomic system in 1808, had felt the urgent 
necessity of representing the atoms of elements by means 
of symbols, which did not then meet with any opposition, 
although at the same time with no imitation in England. 
The symbols of Dalton are, however, far less appropriate 
than those of Berzelius ; moreover they sufficed only to ex- 
press simple combinations, and not very complicated ones. 
The introduction of Berzelius' symbols first enabled the 
chemist to construct chemical formulas. 

When Berzelius began to prove the law of chemical 
proportions by experiment, he was so firmly convinced that 
in inorganic bodies only the most simple relations obtained, 
that he even doubted the accuracy of his own experiments, 
when their results gave complicated relations. It was 
long before he could allow himself to admit that simple sub- 
stances could combine with three, five, and seven atoms of 
oxygen, because these numbers were not multiples of each 
other. He therefore assumed, that in phosphoric acid there 
were four atoms of oxygen, in the arsenious and arsenic acid 
four and six atoms, and in oxide of antimony and antimonic 
acid the same number ; and long after he had convinced 
himself of the elementary nature of chlorine, he doubted the 

214 lliognvphy of Berzeliu*. 

correct statement of Stadion, that hyperchloric acid contained 
seven atoms of oxygen. 

The examination of the oxides of nitrogen presented consi- 
derable difficulties to him. As ammonia was analogous to the 
fixed alkalies, and, under the influence of galvanic electricity 
yielded an amalgam with mercury, there was a possibility of 
assuming that this was a process of reduction, and that ammo- 
nia consisted of a metal and oxygen. But when ammonia was 
decomposed, no oxygen was obtained, but only nitrogen and 
hydrogen ; the oxygen must therefore, Berzelius inferred, be 
concealed in these gases ; and one or both must be oxides of 
the same radical, and this radical the metal ammonium. But 
if nitrogen alone were the oxidised body, then the metal am- 
monium must consist of the radical of nitrogen and hydro- 
gen. Then, again, at that time several chemists, especially 
Gay-Lussac and Thenard, assumed that potassium and so- 
dium contained hydrogen ; however, in the controversy which 
arose on this point between these chemists and Davy, who 
sought to disprove their view, Berzelius immediately decided 
in favour of the latter, and supported him with very strong 
arguments. He also assumed, on this account, the presence 
of oxygen in hydrogen, and this as well as nitrogen were, 
according to his view, oxides of the metal ammonium. The 
different stages of oxidation were, according to him, the fol- 
lowing : hydrogen, protoxide of ammonium (the present ami- 
dogen combined with potassium), ammonia, nitrogen, nitrous 
acid, nitric acid, and finally water, the highest oxide of the 
radical, which, however, must, on this view, have contained 
72 times as much oxygen as the lowest oxide hydrogen. 

Berzelius was led to adopt this extravagant but ingenious 
view by too great faith in the doctrine of proportions in 
the form in which he then conceived it. Somewhat later he 
retracted the opinion that hydrogen was an oxide, and de- 
monstrated the elementary nature of this body by weighty 
arguments ; but he still continued to regard nitrogen as con- 
taining oxygen, and endeavoured afterwards to prove this by 
means of its oxides. Even in 1818, in a paper upon the na- 
ture of nitrogen, hydrogen, and ammonia, he said, " I ven- 
ture to assert, that the compound nature of nitrogen must 

Biography of BerzeUus. 215 

not be regarded as a mere hypothesis, but, if the doctrine of 
definite proportions is admitted, as a demonstrated truth." 
He assumed that an unknown radical — nitricum — existed, to 
which he assigned the symbol N, subsequently retained for 
nitrogen, which was then regarded as the suboxide of this 
supposed radical, and the highest oxide — nitric acid — as con- 
taining six atoms of oxygen. oiq is «jsw ahtt ixulJ -gal mm 

It was, however, in truth, the circumstance that the pro- 
portion of the oxygen in nitrous acid to that in nitric acid 
was as 3 to 5, which alone misled him so obstinately to as- 
sert the existence of oxygen in nitrogen, in which case that 
proportion would have been as 4 to 6. When a short time 
afterwards he made his researches on the composition of 
phosphorous and phosphoric acids, in which he found, almost 
simultaneously with Dulong, that the quantities of oxygen 
were in the proportion of 3 to 5, and after having in vain 
attempted to detect oxygen in phosphorus, his views respect- 
ing the compound nature of nitrogen were shaken, and he 
finally relinquished them, after having convinced himself 
that a similar relation obtained between very many, we may 
perhaps now say most, of the different oxides of simple 
bodies which form acids. Subsequently, he sometimes made 
the remark, without, however, assigning any particular im- 
portance to it, that from the production of nitrogenous com- 
pounds in the organisms of herbivorous animals, whose food 
frequently appears not to correspond in composition with 
them, the existence of oxygen in nitrogen might be inferred. 
However, in the last edition of his "Lehrbuch," even this 
remark does not occur. o xlonrn && somii &V 

This too great faith in the extreme simplicity of chemical 
combining proportions induced Berzelius, in some other in- 
stances, to assume the existence of oxides which had no 
reality. In the investigation of the oxides of tin, he assumed 
that the oxide obtained from the Spiritus Libavii, which cer- 
tainly differs greatly in its characters from that obtained by 
means of nitric acid, was, in reference to the quantity of 
oxygen which it contained, intermediate between the prot- 
oxide and peroxide. Shortly afterwards Gay-Lussac shewed 
that it did not differ from the oxide prepared with nitric acid 

21G ]>io(j)'<ii>hjr of PxTzelhts. 

in its quantity of oxygen. After Berzelius had convineed 
himself of the truth of this remark, he shewed how much the 
two differed in their characters. This was the first example 
of Isomerism. 

Berzelius connected the electro-chemical doctrine with that 
of simple definite proportions. It was very natural that he 
should apply the phenomena presented by the voltaic pile, 
and especially the facts which in his first paper he had so 
convincingly explained to the ordinary chemical processes. 
He assumed, that in every chemical process there was a neu- 
tralization of opposite electricities, in consequence of which 
heat and light were produced in the same way as in the dis- 
charge of a Ley den jar, the galvanic battery, or lightning, 
with the difference, that these phenomena were not always 
accompanied by chemical combination. 

Even at the very first Berzelius did not conceal from him- 
self the difficulties which this theory involved. He assumed 
that the atoms possessed electrical polarity, upon which de- 
pended the electro-chemical phenomena attending their com- 
bination. Thus the atoms of oxygen were regarded as hav- 
ing a preponderance of negative electricity ; those of potas- 
sium a preponderance of positive. The unequal intensity of 
the electrical polarity in the atoms of different bodies, de- 
pendent partly upon their temperature, was regarded as the 
cause of the difference of force with which affinities are ex- 
ercised. He altered his views of this subject at different 
times, and finally admitted that it was very possible that he 
was in error. 

In classifying bodies as electro-positive and electro-nega- 
tive, Berzelius regarded oxygen and the elements resembling 
it as electro-positive. Subsequently, however, he altered the 
nomenclature, and more correctly called them electro-nega- 
tive. Oxygen alone he regarded as absolutely electro-nega- 
tive, all other bodies being only relatively negative or posi- 
tive, just as they would be related to each other when their 
compounds were exposed to the influence of the electric 

These views of Berzelius have been frequently disputed. 
And in truth, the phenomena attending the greater number 

Biography of Berzelius. 217 

of ordinary chemical processes, in which bodies act upon 
each other only when in immediate contact, are different from 
those which occur during the discharge of an electric pile 
where bodies act at a distance. It is only in some chemical 
processes, such as the arborescent deposition of metals, that 
there is a resemblance to the decompositions effected by the 

Much later Berzelius assumed the existence of another 
force, although only as regarded some special chemical 
changes — the catalytic force. The evolution of light and 
heat according to the electro-chemical theory could only result 
from the combination of bodies opposite in their characters ; 
but when they occur on the decomposition of bodies, or when 
compounds are decomposed and new ones formed, without 
the body, whose presence causes this change, taking part in 
it, Berzelius ascribed this effect to the force of catalysis. 

Much has been brought forward in opposition to the as- 
sumption of this new hypothetical force. But it is not justly 
censurable that, in an imperfect science like chemistry, all 
phenomena which stand isolated, for which no suitable ana- 
logues can be found, and which appear as it were wonderful, 
should provisionally be ascribed to a peculiar cause or force, 
so as openly to admit, that in the present state of the science 
it is more appropriate not to explain a chemical process at 
all than to do so in a forced and fastidious manner. With 
the advance of the science the number of phenomena belong- 
ing to such categories will always become smaller. 

After Berzelius had laboured uninterruptedly during a 
space often years in the investigation of the atomic weights 
of the elements and their compounds, and had these so far 
established that all experiments corresponded to within small 
and unavoidable errors, he was in a position in 1818 to pub- 
lish tables containing the atomic weights of about 2000 simple 
and compound bodies. 

Thus had Berzelius completed as it were the scaffolding 
of his system, and he now commenced to supply the defi- 
ciencies which he had previously been obliged to pass over, 
and thus to plan out the whole. 

Some time before, in 1814, he had also extended his inves- 

218 Bioc/rajJiy of Bcrzelhin. 

tigations to organic substances, and published a very impor- 
tant paper on the definite proportion in which the elements 
are combined in organic nature. He there shewed at length, 
that however different organic bodies might at first sight 
appear to be from inorganic, in regard to their elementary 
composition, still the only certain clue by which we could 
hope to arrive at a correct conception of the nature of the 
composition of those bodies which are produced under the 
influence of vital processes, was what was already known of 
the composition of inorganic bodies. He had therefore the 
great merit of having extended the doctrine of the simple 
chemical proportions in which bodies combine to organic 

The first accurate experiments on the elementary composi- 
tion of organic bodies had been instituted a few years pre- 
vious to the appearance of this paper, by Thenard and Gay- 
Lussac, in 1811. Nevertheless, they contented themselves 
with drawing no other inference from their results than that 
a vegetable substance is always acid when it contains oxy- 
gen in a proportion greater than is necessary to form water ; 
that, by an excess of hydrogen, resinous, oleaginous, or al- 
coholic substances were formed ; and lastly, that when oxy- 
gen and hydrogen were present in the same proportions as 
in water, these substances were neither acid nor resinous, 
but analogous to sugar, gum, starch, milk sugar, or woody 
fibre. These conclusions were correct, only for the sub- 
stances which they examined, and proved untenable when a 
greater number had been studied. From the results of their 
investigation of animal substances, they could not draw even 
similar inferences ; they contented themselves with remark- 
ing, that they contained a greater quantity of hydrogen than 
was necessary to form water with the oxygen present, and 
that it was united with nitrogen in the form of ammonia. 

Gay-Lussac and Thenard had burnt the organic substances 
by means of chlorate of potash, in a special form of appara- 
tus ; Berzelius borrowed from them the use of chlorate of 
potash, but his mode of combustion was incomparably more 
advantageous. He had already become convinced that it 
was necessary to estimate the carbonic acid obtained by its 

Biography of Berze lius . 219 

weight, and not by the volume. This was not always observed 
afterwards, on which account the analysis of organic bodies 
did not yield accurate results until a few years since, when 
Liebig introduced the extremely advantageous potash appa- 
ratus, which rendered it possible to weigh the carbonic acid 
with accuracy. Moreover, Berzelius estimated the hydrogen, 
not in the indirect way, like Gay-Lussac and Thenard, but 
he weighed it directly after it had been converted into water, 
which gave the results of his investigations a far greater 
accuracy in respect to this element. >oqaroo odi 

The number of organic substances investigated by Berze- 
lius was not very great, because the construction of appara- 
tus, and the novelty of the subject, presented many diffi- 
culties. But although afterwards the methods of analysis 
were greatly simplified and improved, still the analytical re- 
sults obtained by him in his investigation of organic sub- 
stances have proved to be remarkably accurate, tj t or>muJ. 

He shewed that, not only the organic acid, but also the 
indifferent substances, combined with inorganic oxides in de- 
finite proportions, forming compounds resembling salts, by 
means of which their atomic weights could be determined, as 
in the case of inorganic bodies. This observation led to the 
view which regards organic bodies as oxides, whose radicals, 
however, are compound, while in the inorganic bodies they 
are simple. This view at first attracted little notice among 
chemists, and was not till long afterwards recognised as cor- 
rect by many, after the number of fantastic ideas of the 
composition of organic bodies had created an earnest desire 
for a rational and consistent theory. , /a [ 

It cannot but be a subject of regret, that it was not grant- 
ed to Berzelius to live to see several of the radicals hypothe- 
tically assumed by him, actually obtained, and indeed but a 
very short time after his death. j in fI ^ w 

Soon after the establishment of the electro-chemical sys- 
tem, Berzelius applied the theory of chemical proportions 
to minerals, and put forward a mineral system, based upon 
chemical principles. If the minerals occurring in nature are 
regarded as having compositions similar to the substances 
artificially prepared in the laboratory, such a mineral system 

'220 7>io<jr<t}>hi/ of Berzelht*. 

is, indeed, very appropriate. Every man of science must, 
however, admit, that in this case another system of classifica- 
tion must come into use in Mineralogy than is adopted in Bo- 
tany and Zoology. The inorganic substances with which that 
science has to do consist of a large number — more than 60 — 
simple bodies : the organic substances, on the contrary, of very 
few — only three or four. Since, moreover, the intimate con- 
nection existing between the chemical composition and all 
the external characters of minerals cannot be detected, it is 
obvious that minerals might be more easily and certainly 
recognised, distinguished, and classified, as soon as their 
chemical composition was studied ; but not so plants and 
animals, in the case of which we do not yet know that there 
is such an intimate connection, and which, notwithstanding 
the greatest diversity in form, have almost all the same com- 
position. Were it possible, likewise, to recognise their spe- 
cies by means of an easy chemical analysis, we should call 
every botanist and zoologist one-sided who neglected to avail 
himself of this means of recognition. > $d$ oi 

Before Berzelius' time it had often been attempted to 
classify minerals according to their constituents, but before 
the doctrine of definite proportions, and the correct views of 
the composition of bodies were known, this could only be 
imperfectly effected. Such systems were those which Karsten 
had put forward in his mineralogical tables, and Hauy, in 
his mineralogy, but the achievements of Berzelius in this 
respect, caused the attempts of his predecessors to be entirely 

The mineral system put forward by Berzelius met with 
opposition, especially from those who followed the so-called 
natural systems. 

In the natural systems of mineralogy, the minerals are all 
placed according to their similarity in external characters. 
But all these systems differed from each other, because they 
were constructed in accordance with subjective principles. 

Werner had, in addition, based his natural system, to a 
certain extent, upon chemical principles, which were not ear- 
ned out very consistently, as indeed was impossible, consider- 
ing the state in which the science then was. But Mohs put 

Dr John Davy on the Ova of the Salmonidce. 22 1 

forward the fundamental principle, that mineralogists should 
only pay attention to the natural history characters of mine- 
rals, such as crystalline form, hardness, specific gravity, and 
not to such as cannot be observed without causing a sensible 
alteration in the substance. If it ever happens, — continues 
Mohs, — that a branch of natural history as mineralogy, em- 
ploys such characters in its method as these last mentioned, 
it then exceeds its legitimate bounds, becomes entangled with 
other sciences, and hampered with all those difficulties of 
which mineralogy has long been a warning example. 

(To be concluded in our next.) 


Some Observations on the Ova of the Salmonidce. By John 
Davy, M.D., F.R.S., &c. Communicated by the Author. 

M. Vogt, in his able and elaborate work on the Embry- 
ology of the SalmonidEe, has pointed out a remarkable pro- 
perty belonging to the ova of these fishes, viz., that of hav- 
ing their fluid contents coagulated by admixture with water. 
— Thus, as he states, " Lorsqu'on creve un oeuf dans l'eau, 
on voit a l'instant raeme la masse entiere du vitellus se trans- 
former en une matiere blanchatre, lactee, opaque et filamen- 
teuse, qui n'a plus aucune ressemblance avec la substance 
vitellaire de l'oeuf intacte. Voulant m'assurer si c'etait 
reellement l'effet de l'eau, j'ouvris un oeuf au foyer du micro- 
scope et j'y melai une goutte d'eau, pendant que j'observais 
le vitellus : partout ou les deux liquides entrerent en contact 
il en resulta a l'instant meme une quantite de petite granules 
opaques, qui furent affected pendant long temps d'un mouve- 
ment molleculaire tres pronounce. Ces granules etaient si 
petits que sous mon plus fort grossissement, ils ne m'apparu- 
rent que comme de petits points fonces et leur nombre con- 
siderable me prouva suffisament que ce n'etaient pas des 
| nucleolules devenus libres par l'effet de l'eau qui auraient 
fait crever les parois des cellules."* 

* Embryologie des Salmones, par C. Vogt, p. 11, in vol. i. of M. Agassiz'a 
Hist, of Fresh- Water Fishes, Neuchatel, 1842. 


222 Dr John Davy's Observations on the 

The observations of M. Vogt were made principally on 
the ova of the Palee (Coregonus Palcea, Cuv.) of the Lake of 
Neuchatel. Those which I have to offer, have been made in 
most part on the mature ova of the Charr of Windermere. 
These, it may be right to mention, are commonly spherical, 
about two-tenths of an inch in diameter, weighing about a 
grain each (the fluid contents about *98 of a grain ; the mem- 
branous shell about *02 of a grain), of the specific gravity 
1095, or thereabouts, — being suspended in a solution of com- 
mon salt of this density. The contained fluid — the vitellus — 
is slightly viscid ; of a light yellow hue, from oil particles of 
this colour diffused through it ; and slightly alkaline, as in- 
dicated by its effects on test papers. 

Having premised thus much, I shall briefly relate the re- 
sults of the experiments which I have made ; and, first, On 
the action of water on the vitelline fluid. 

When about equal parts of the fluid of the egg and water 
were mixed, the result was an immediate coagulation, exactly 
similar to that described by M. Vogt in the instance of the 
vitellus of the Palee. If the proportion of water was very much 
less, the two fluids mixed without coagulation, either at the 
instant or afterwards. The mixture was capable even of dis- 
solving a minute quantity of coagulum obtained by the action 
of a larger quantity of water. When a puncture was made in 
the egg under water, the little fluid that issued was instantly 
covered with a delicate pellicle, and was shortly wholly 
coagulated, as were also, gradually and pretty rapidly, the en- 
tire contents. 

Secondly, Of the action of heat. — Contrary to what might 
have been expected, heat, even a temperature of 212° 
Fahrenheit, did not coagulate the vitellus. Eggs placed 
in a dry tube immersed in boiling water, shrunk and became 
shrivelled from evaporation, but not opaque ; and when 
evaporation was arrested by the presence of steam, gene- 
rated from accompanying moist cotton, even this change 
was prevented ; after immersion of the tube from five to 
ten minutes in boiling water, the vitellus remained fluid, 
coagulable, however, as before, on admixture with water. 
Heated in water, the effect was strikingly different. At 160° 

Ova of the Salmonidw. 223 

Fahr., the coagulation took place pretty rapidly ; at 120°, 
more slowly ; and slower still at lower temperatures ; at 
100°, the time required for coagulation to take place was 
about half an hour. The higher the temperature at which 
the coagulation was effected, the greater was the firmness of 
the coagulum ; at the boiling temperature, continued for a 
few minutes, it was as firm nearly as the yoke of the egg of 
the common fowl similarly treated. That, in all these in- 
stances, water penetrated and mixed with the vitellus can 
hardly be doubted ; at 100°, it may be mentioned in confir- 
mation, that the coagulation extended gradually, spreading 
almost from a point. These trials were made with unim- 
pregnated eggs. Repeated on others that had been subjected 
to the influence of the spermatic fluid by admixture about 
thirty-six hours previously, the effect of coagulation was 
decidedly slower in taking place, i. e., the fluid resisted longer 
incipient coagulation ; but when it commenced, it seemed to 
proceed as rapidly in one instance as in the other. 

Thirdly, Of the action of alkalies and salts. — Ammonia or 
potassa, or the sesquicarbonate of either alkali, in solution, 
added in very minute quantity to the fluid vitellus, did not pre- 
vent its coagulation ; but, if of moderate strength, no obvious 
effect was produced, either at the instant of admixture or 
afterwards ; moreover, if coagulated vitellus, obtained by 
the action of water, was added, a certain portion of it was 
dissolved. r0 ° 

Common salt, muriate of lime, muriate of ammonia, mu- 
riate of barytes, nitre, phosphate of soda, sulphate of magnesia, 
alum, acetate of lead, in solution, acted very similarly ; when 
weak not preventing coagulation, but preventing it when 
not much diluted. In the instance of common salt, a solu- 
tion so weak as to be of the specific gravity 10,045 to water 
as 10,000, on addition to the vitellus, did not impair its 
fluidity ; it required to be reduced to the specific gravity 
10,029 to effect coagulation. The stronger saline solutions, 
in the same manner as the alkaline, were found capable of 
dissolving a certain quantity of the coagulated vitellus. 

Fourthly, Of the action of acids and some other agents. — 
The fluid of the vitellus was not coagulated by the tartaric, 


L'24 Dr John Davy's Ohsercations on the 

oxalic, or acetic acids, either strong or very much diluted. By 
strong muriatic acid it was inspissated, the acid and fluid not 
incorporating. The inspissated mass was transparent ; on 
the addition of water it became opaque and of a milky white- 
ness, the colour of the ordinary coagulum. The effect of 
strong sulphuric acid was but little different ; whilst the 
greater portion of the vitellus was inspissated, a very small 
portion was dissolved, as indicated by its becoming milky on 
the addition of water, after having been decanted. Nitric 
acid, whether strong or weak, coagulated the vitellus. A solu- 
tion of corrosive sublimate had alike effect, as had also alcohol. 

The results of these experiments seem to shew that the 
fluid the subject of them possesses properties distinct from 
those of either the albumen or yolk of the eggs of birds, 
or indeed of any other form of albuminous fluid hitherto 
described ; and, in consequence, may it not be held to be a 
species or variety apart, as much so as the albumen of the 
serum of blood, or the coagulable lymph of the same fluid % 

I could have wished to have extended the inquiry to the ova 
of the other species of Salmonidse ; but I have not yet had an 
opportunity, except in an imperfect manner, in the instance of 
those of the trout and salmon. The results obtained, few as 
they were, as also on the ova of the pike and perch, were simi- 
lar, leading to the conclusion, so favoured by analogy, that the 
ova of all the several species will be found alike in their pro- 
perties ; and further, that the ova, if not of the cartilaginous, 
at least of the other species of osseous fishes, will not be found 
dissimilar. But, however probable this may be, it is desirable 
to have it determined by exact experiments, especially as in 
the instances of the ova of several of the cartilaginous fishes, 
comparing one with the other, there are marked differences, 
both as regards their component parts, and probably as re- 
gards also the qualities of those parts : Thus, from such 
observations as I have made, the eggs of the viviparous fishes 
of this order appear to be destitute of a white, which those 
of the oviparous possess. The Torpedo and Squalus squatina 
may be mentioned as belonging to the former ; the Squalus 
catulus and acanthias, and the Raja oxyrinchus, clavata and 
aquila to the latter. The yolk of the egg of all these fishes, 

Ova of the Salmonidm. 225 

both of those which have and of those which have not a white, 
seems, in its general properties, to be very similar to that of 
birds ; I can state confidently that it is not coagulated by 
water. The white (the glairy fluid corresponding in situa- 
tion to the albumen ovi of birds) will probably be found to 
possess properties differing from those of the white of the 
bird's egg. In the instance of that of the Squalus catulus, I 
found it was neither coagulated by nitric acid nor by heat. In 
a note, dated Malta, 1832, I have described it " as a trans- 
parent viscid fluid, unaltered by boiling during two minutes, 
in which time the yolk had become hard, and uncoagulated 
by the addition of nitric acid." 

There is a tendency of the mind to seek an object — 
some end in all that we witness — a final cause — in accord- 
ance with the maxim, that Nature does nothing in vain. 
Reflecting on the property of the ova of the Salmonidse, — 
how, so long as they retain their vitality, they remain trans- 
parent, — how, on losing their vitality, on the undue admis- 
sion of water, they become opaque, — it has occurred to me that 
even this difference may not be without use. The transparent 
ova are less easily seen than the opaque white, the living 
than the dead ; and, in consequence, the latter may be more 
attractive, more liable to be preyed on than the former ; and 
the circumstance that the opaque coagulated ova resist 
change and keep in water a long time, even several months 
without undergoing any perceptible alteration, is in favour 
of the conclusion, that they are specially intended for becom- 
ing food, serving as lures, and thereby in a manner protect- 
ing the transparent, those retaining vitality, and in course of 
being hatched, from being devoured by birds and fishes, 


On the Condition and Prospects of the Aborigines of 

Australia. By W. Westgarth, Esq.* 

1. Present Aboriginal Population. 

The information under this head is exhibited, for the sake of 

greater distinctness, in a tabular form. These returns, though in- 

— | — __ 1 „ __ — __ — — 

* The writer has confined his attention, in the following page?, almost ex- 
clusively to the information regarding the Aborigines that has been published 
within the last two years, which is, in general, of a more practical character 

226 On (he Condition and Prvspects 

complete as regards the whole colony of New South Wales, are 
yet valuable in several respects, as affording some estimate of the 
ratio of population to extent of country, the proportions of the 
sexes, and of the children and adults of the aboriginal tribes. 

According to Mr Parker's estimate, by a census taken partly in 
1843, and partly in 1844, the total number of the Aborigines 
throughout the district west of the river Goulburn is 1522. This 
district runs westward to the South Australian frontier, and north 
from Mount Macedon and Mount William to the Murray. The 
tribes on the banks of the Murray, still very numerous, are not 
included. Mr Watton, in the district or country around Mount 
Bouse, comprising about 20,000 square miles, estimates the num- 
ber of the Aborigines at 2000. 

From the annexed table, it would appear that the proportion of 
males to females, of all ages, is about 1*56 : 1, or rather more 
than 3 to 2. The disproportion of the sexes is greater among the 
children than the adults ; the proportion of male to female adults 
may be estimated at 1*55 : 1, and that of male to female children 
at 1*8 : 1. The proportion of adults to children is 2£ to 1. That 
proportion of the territory of New South Wales that may in a ge- 
neral sense be termed " occupied,''' extends over an area of about 
320,000 square miles, and may be estimated to contain above 
15,000 aborigines. Allowing 80,000 square miles of this area to 
Port Philip, and assuming Mr Robinson's estimate of 5000 abo- 
rigines, there will be 1 aboriginal inhabitant to each 16 square 
miles for that district, and 1 to 24 for the remainder of the colony ; 
the average for all New South Wales being 1 aboriginal inhabitant 
to 21 * square miles. 

Considerable numbers of the aborigines were met with by Dr 
Leichardt and his party on their route to Port Essington, more par- 
ticularly throughout Northern Australia. The banks of the rivers 
of the locality appeared comparatively well inhabited, and the tra- 
vellers encountered native fisheries, numerous wells of fresh water, 
and the remains of vegetable food prepared for preservation. Cap- 
tain Sturt gives an interesting account of numerous tribes of the 
aborigines which he met with towards the central regions of Aus- 
tralia, thickly planted along the grassy banks of a large creek, the 
bed of which was about the size of that of the Dragging. 

than the observations of preceding writers. The object here proposed being to 
exhibit the condition and prospects of the Aborigines with reference to their 
civilisation, or to any degree of benefit that it may be possible to confer upon 
them, the various and endless Mythologies (if they may be so dignified), of the 
different tribes are very slightly alluded to, and theoretical inquiries as to the 
primeval origin of the race are not considered. 

of the Aborigines of Australia. 


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228 On tJie Condition and Prospects 

Judging from the comparatively numerous aboriginal population 
in the earlier years of the colony, the present average ratio of abo- 
riginal inhabitants to extent of territory for the entire Australian 
continent might be anticipated greatly to exceed the very slender 
estimate above given for New South Wales. But the explorations 
of Captain Sturt, Mr Eyre, and other travellers, have made known 
the existence of such extensive tracts of steril country throughout; 
Central and North-west Australia, that it may be doubted if that 
estimate can be much exceeded. 

. ... ■ ri^ii 

2. Their Decrease, and the Causes to which this circumstance is 

attributable ; their Present Condition, and Means of Subsist- 
ence, hum 
The diminution of his number, and the final extinction of savage 
man, as he makes room for the civilised occupant of his territory, is 
a feature of which Australia furnishes neither the first nor the only 
example. The uniform result of all inquiry on the subject of the 
numbers of the Australian aborigines exhibits a decrease in the po- 
pulation of those districts which have been overspread by colonial 
enterprise. The ratio of decrease is variously given for different 
parts of the country. The causes of this gradual extinction appear 
to be tolerably ascertained ; their own mutual wars ; their hostile 
encounters with the whites ; the diseases and vices of European so- 
ciety, unusually destructive in their effects, from irregularity in the 
mode of life, and the want of proper medical treatment ; the com- 
mon practice of infanticide ; and, more remotely, perhaps, by the 
gradual disappearance of various animals used as food, and of other 
sources of their support. The causes of decrease alluded to by 
Count Strzelecki are of a striking and important nature. The 
Australian aborigines do not appear, in general, to want for good 
humour and contentment; but to one who is accustomed to the com- 
forts of civilised life, their condition, in other respects, appears to 
have reached the lowest extreme of misery. 

The aboriginal Mahroot states, that, in his recollection, in Go- 
vernor Maequarie's time, there were about four hundred individuals 
of his tribe occupying the southern coast of Port Jackson. There 
are now hut four remaining, namely, three women and himself. 

At the Lake Macquarie Mission, the Rev. Mr Threlkeld laboured 
to acquire the local language, in order to translate the Scriptures, 
and learn the aborigines of that locality to read ; but, in the midst 
of these efforts, the aborigines themselves, the objects of his exer- 
tions, were rapidly disappearing, and, eventually, scarcely any re- 
mained to reap the fruits of his zeal. 

Assistant Protector Parker estimates the decrease among the 
tribes of the Loddon and the Goulburn at five per cent, only for the 
last five years ; the Chief Protector's estimate for the entire district 
for the last six years is twenty per cent. By a census taken at the 

of the Aborigines of Australia . 229 

close of 1839, the Yarra and Western Port tribes numbered 207 
individuals, who, with five surviving children, subsequently born, 
make a total of 212. The present number (June 1845), is less 
by 47, or nearly twenty-three per cent, within the five-and-a-half 
years. edj iu9 .aelfiW iJJijoS wM *io1 nevrg evodfi etemitee 

Mutual war, and hostilities with the whites. — In common with 
the rest of mankind, in all stages of civilisation, the vicissitudes of 
aboriginal life are still further diversified by mutual warfare. Mr 
Robinson estimates that an annual loss of one in twenty of the abo- 
rigines is due to this cause, independently of their conflicts with the 
whites. Ten years ago, observe the Goulburn magistracy, the tribes 
in that neighbourhood were always at war ; they are now, however, 
much diminished in number, and mingle together as one tribe ; and 
it is necessary that two or three tribes should join together for the 
performance of a corrobboree. g fiivio erfo ic-1 m eri 8.6 t n\em 

Out of twenty-one tribes, numbering 421 aborigines, located be- 
tween the Campaspe river and the west side of the Pyrenees, there 
occurred twenty-five deaths within a period of two-and-a-half years, 
ten of which resulted from collisions with aborigines, one with Eu- 
ropeans, the remaining fourteen being due to natural causes. As 
there were ten surviving children born during this period, the net 
decrease amounted to fifteen individuals, or about one-and-a-half 
per cent, per annum. Mr Parker intimates the satisfactory result, 
that no aboriginal native has been shot within the last three years 
and a half, though considerable numbers had been thus sacrificed 
before the establishment of the protectorate. These outrages, on 
the part of the colonists, are still practised upon the tribes of the 
Murray, whose territories are situated beyond the influence of the 
Protectorate. The decrease among these blacks, during the last five 
years, he estimates at ten to twelve per cent. ; and in the district 
west of the Pyrenees, where many have been killed by the colonists, 
at the higher proportion of twenty per cent. 

The number of blacks who have been killed by the whites through- 
out the Moreton Bay District cannot be ascertained ; but as about 
fifty whites have already perished at the hands of the aborigines, the 
destruction has probably been very considerable. Mr Robinson ap- 
prehends that the settlers have not scrupled, on occasions, to make 
use of poison in order to get rid of the aborigines ; and Mr Dredge 
vehemently accuses the former of heartless cruelties towards these 
unfortunate beings. [ bnu 

Diseases. — In the foremost rank among the miseries that have 
resulted to the aboriginal population from their intercourse with the 
whites, must be placed the introduction of that great scourge of 
the vices of mankind — the venereal disease. Some doubts have, in- 
deed, been expressed in opposition to the general opinion that this 
disease was originally introduced into Australia by the colonists. The 
Rev. Mr Schmidt, in reply to a question on this subject from one of 

230 On the Condition and Prospects 

the Committee, intimated that he found this malady among the 
Bunya Bunya tribes, some of whom had never been in communica- 
tion with the whites. He could not, however, form any opinion 
whether or not these tribes had this disease before or since tjie ar- 
rival of Europeans; nor could the aborigines themselves give any 
information on the subject. But the agency of the colonists has 
been terribly effectual in disseminating this disease among these 
wandering outcasts of the soil. In the various communications to 
the committee this destructive malady stands prominently forward 
among the more immediate causes to which the decrease in the 
numbers of the aborigines is attributable ; and its attacks are ren- 
dered unusually virulent and distressing, from the exposed and ir- 
regular manner of aboriginal life, and the absence of proper medical 
assistance.* Mr Thomas relates the shocking and frightful extent to 
which this complaint prevailed throughout the Port Philip district 
on the arrival of the Protectors, flf Old and young," says he, "even 
children at the breast, were affected with it. I have known hapless 
infants brought into the world literally rotten with this disease." 

Chiefly remarkable amongst the other diseases of the aborigines 
appears the leucorrhoca, a very prevalent complaint, which rages with 
great severity. It is a curious circumstance, attested by various 
experience, that the introduction of this affection among uncivilised 
races appears to be contemporary with the arrival of European 
females in the country. It is apt to be mistaken for secondary 
symptoms, or a modified elephantiasis.f 

A great proportion of the aborigines, as stated by the bench of 
magistrates at Goulburn, have died from pulmonary affections, in- 
duced from exposure after intoxication, the effects of which, together 
with frequent severe rheumatic affections, carry them off in about 
twelve months after they are attacked. These and other vicissitudes of 
their mode of life, may be supposed considerably to abridge the usual 
term of human existence.. " One of the men," says Mr Dunlop, 
speaking of the Wollombi blacks, " aged 55, is blind from old age.'' 
Mr Thomas ascertained from returns he has forwarded half-yearly 
to the government, of the births and deaths of aborigines, that there 
are at least eight deaths to one birth. 

Infant mortality. — The great mortality during infancy is also a 
remarkable feature among the aborigines. This circumstance is in- 
dependent of the well-authenticated practice of infanticide, by which 

* One of the cures practised by the aborigines for this disease is abstinence 
from animal food and drinking gum water. 

t Strzelecki, p. 347. — The remarks of this writer on the aborigines are al- 
ways original, forcible, and far-sighted. This is probably the disease alluded to 
by Dr Lang as having broken out among the aborigines soon after the founda- 
tion of the colony. It resembled the smallpox, and rapidly reduced the num- 
bers of the black population, which had been previously very considerable. — 
(Lang'z History, second edition, i., p. 3G.) 

of the Aborigines of Australia. 231 

additional numbers of the helpless offspring are sacrificed to the 
superstition or barbarism of their parents and tribes. Very few 
women have more than two children ; and the great proportion of 
the infants do not survive the first month. Of the children born 
among the Yarra and Western Port tribes during the last six years 
there is now but one remaining alive. Among the aborigines in- 
habiting between the river Campaspe and the Pyrenees hills, num- 
bering 421 individuals, the surviving children born during the space 
of two years and a half were only five males and five females ; a 
much larger number were brought forth, most of whom did not sur- 
vive a month. 

Count Strzelecki has mentioned a remarkable physical law, in 
connection with the rapid decrease of these aboriginal races, which 
is but too ominous of their final destiny. It has been ascertained, 
with reference to various aboriginal tribes, including those of New 
Zealand, New South Wales, and Van Diemen's Land, that the 
aboriginal woman, after connection with a European male, " loses 
the power of conception on a renewal of intercourse with the male 
of her own race, retaining only that of procreating with the white 

Condition and means of support. — Their present condition and 
means of subsistence appear to be well ascertained. In those lo- 
calities where fish are to be obtained this description of food is in 
principal use. Mahroot states that his tribe lived generally on fern 
root, and the fish caught at the sea-coast ; the tribe never quitted the 
sea-coast. The subsistence of the natives about Moreton Bay is de- 
rived entirely from the sea. Various roots are also resorted to, par- 
ticularly that called the murnong, a small root of a nutritious cha- 
racter, having a leaf like that of a parsnip, of which they are very 

Mr Malcolm thinks that the grazing of sheep and cattle has 
greatly reduced the growth of this root. Mr Thomas, on the other 
hand, asserts that it is a mistaken notion that the sheep tend to de- 
stroy this root. The native, he says can readily find it out, even 
without the guidance of the flower. The indigenous roots used by 
the aborigines are mostly bulbs, very firm in the ground, and, with 
the exception of pigs, not likely to be destroyed by any animal. The 
supply of most other descriptions of their food has been either dimi- 
nished or entirely taken away by the occupation of their country ; 
the kangaroo, for example, and various other animals and birds ; and 
the supply of gum has also been much decreased, in consequence of 
the extensive exportation of mimosa bark. 

The natives must suffer severely in the winter season. The 
women, with their young infants on their shoulders, may be seen 
seeking for grubs on mimosa gum ; and sometimes, when they are 
perhaps suckling infants, they will be half a day or night in the 
water spearing eels. To European minds, the condition of the abo- 

232 (.hi the Condition and Prospects 

rigines generally suggests the idea of the lowest possible stage of 

3. Infanticide. 

The general prevalence of infanticide is established beyond nny 
reasonable doubt. The half-caste infants appear to be the most, ex- 
posed to this fate. Among many tribes, they seem to be regularly 
murdered, either immediately or very soon after birth, unless saved 
by the interference of the whites. The female infants appear in 
the next degree exposed to this fate. Occasionally, male and fe- 
male are despatched alike. According to Mr Lambie, this practice 
is unknown in Maneroo. 

The unnatural coldness on the part of a mother, that might be 
expected to accompany such a practice, does not appear to exist as 
a necessary associate ; at least, there is on occasions no want of ma- 
ternal feeling, notwithstanding the apparent inconsistency of such a 
circumstance. The Moreton Bay blacks have a great affection for 
their children ; but, nevertheless, says Mr Simpson, they eat them 
when they die from natural causes. If infanticide exists at all, 
says Mr Dunlop, it must be very rare, and occasioned only by the 
deepest misery and want. He instances their strong maternal af- 

Of Half- Castes. — It is a rale with the aboi'igines to destroy their 
half-caste children immediately after birth, and instances of the kind, 
at the hands of the mother, Mr Schmidt says, have come under his 
own notice. On the Manning river, where there are many half-castes, 
the mothers appear to have a repugnance to them, and several in- 
stances are known there, in which they have destroyed these chil- 
dren immediately after birth. On one occasion, a mother, in ex- 
cuse for destroying her half-caste child, assigned as the reason, that 
it was half white. Half-caste boys, say the magistrates at Dungog, 
are believed to be always murdered. Infanticide, says Mr Robinson, 
exists in Port Philip to a limited extent. The victims have been 
invariably half-castes ; but of late some tribes have spared this class 
of their offspring. Mr Smythe knows of no half-castes living in his 
district. Several have been born, but they have invariably disap- 
peared. Mr Parker fears the natives have been hitherto justly 
charged with the practice of murdering their half-caste children ; but 
a better feeling, he says, now seems to be prevailing, at least among 
some of the tribes, and he thinks that these children arc, in some 
cases, regarded even with more affection than the pure native. Ac- 
cording to Mr Flanagan, the half-castes in the Broulee district, ge- 
nerally disappear about the age of puberty, and are supposed to be 
destroyed by the other blacks. There are at present about twelve 
in that locality, and all young. 

Of Females. — In New England, where this crime is general, the 
victims are the half-castes and female infants, never the male. Mr 

of the Aborigines of Australia. 233 

Thomas, who considers that infanticide is increasing, states that the 
blacks were accustomed to destroy the female till a male infant was 
born ; but now he has reason to believe that male and female are 
alike destroyed. Mr Dredge mentions the practice of murdering all 
infants of a lighter hue, and the first-born child, if of the female sex. 
In general. — In the Broulee district, where infanticide is very 
common, in the case of twins, one is always sacrificed. Mr Parker 
states, that the practice appears to have nearly ceased among the 
Loddon and Goulburn tribes, where the Protectorate influence is 
felt. No instance, to his knowledge, has occurred among the Lod- 
don tribes during the last two years ; but, " to the westward the 
practice prevails in its grossest and most frightful character. A well- 
authenticated instance was lately made known to me, in which an 
infant was killed, and eaten by its mother and her other children." 
Captain Fyans is convinced that infanticide is a common occurrence, 
and mentions a case that occurred close to his own residence, where 
a native man took the child by the legs and dashed its head in pieces 
against a tree. Mr Thomas speaks despairingly of the prevalence 
and even increase of the crime. One of the chiefs acknowledged he 
had no power to stop the practice. The blacks say they have now 
no country, and are therefore unwilling to keep their children. 

4. Intermixture of Race with the Whites. 

Notwithstanding the squalid aspect of this population, the evidence 
adduced to the Committee shews a prevalence of illicit intercourse 
between the aboriginal females and the colonists, chiefly those of the 
labouring classes. This has been a fruitful source of misery to the 
aboriginal population, both from the disease that it introduces among 
them, and from the hostile feeling with which the male blacks of the 
tribes are justly inspired. There are no instances, the Newcastle 
Bench states, of the union of whites with the female aborigines, but 
the labouring classes are in the constant practice of cohabiting with 
these females, and there appears to be no repugnance on either side. 

The number of half-caste children would doubtless have been 
much greater than it appears to be at present in the colony, but for 
the well-ascertained practice with many tribes of putting to death all 
infants of this class. In the Scone District, the majority of the 
aboriginal children are half-caste, who are living with their mothers. 
There are many on the Manning river. On Stadbroke Island there 
are several ; in the Picton District eleven, namely, one man, one 
woman, three male and six female children, who are all living after the 
manner of the aborigines. Of four half-castes in the district around 
Brisbane Water, two are adult females, and are married to white 
men ; the other two are children, and living with the aborigines. 
According to the Chief Protector, there are probably not more than 
twenty or thirty half-castes in the Port Philip District, who are liv- 
ing with and after the manner of the aborigines. 

234 On the Condition and Prospects 

5. Physical Aspect. 

The aborigines of New South Wales and Van Piemen's Land, 
observes Strzelecki, bear respectively the stamp of different families, 
together with such variations as the nature of the climate and other 
conditions of life might impress upon the human frame. 

Thus, in New South Wales, where bathing is a luxury, and heat 
promotes perspiration, the hair is smooth and glossy, the skin fine, 
and of a uniform colour ; whereas in Van Diemen's Land, from the 
greater coldness of the climate, the skin appears scaly, subject to cuta- 
neous disease, and weather-beaten, and the hair a prey to filthiness. 

The facial angle is between 75° and 85°, the forehead low, eyes 
large and far apart, nose broad and flat, mouth wide, with large white 
teeth and thick lips, the lower jaw unusually short, and widely ex- 
panded anteriorly. The mammae of the females are not spherical 
in shape, but pyriform, and soon after marriage they become flaccid 
and elongated. 

The Australian native is adroit and flexible in the motions of his 
body ; in the act of striking or throwing the spear his attitude is 
extremely graceful. " In his physical appearance, nevertheless, he 
does not exhibit any features by which his race could be classed or 
identified with any of the generally known families of mankind." * 

The natives of Australia, states Mr Eyre, present a striking re- 
semblance to each other in physical appearance and structure, and in 

general character, habits, and pursuits.! . . T „ 

° s -ten 9fIT — .^atol ajsos^mii 

6. Language. 

No feature is more conspicuous among the Australian aborigines 
than their great diversity of speech ; every considerable tribe appear- 
ing to have a distinct language of its own. Undoubtedly, the great 
proportion of these varieties are to be classed as mere dialects, the 
branches of primary stock, which have deviated more or less widely 
from their common original, and from one another, according to va- 
rious accidents in connection with the rarity of intercourse that pre- 
vails one with another among the respective sections of the popula- 
tion. But whether or not any of these diversities of speech are 
traceable respectively to a more remote and independent origin, is a 
question as yet by no means decided. 

Mr Dredge, after alluding to the effect of the separate and dis- 

* Strzelecki, p. 334. 

t Paper on the Aborigines of Australia, read before the Ethnological So- 
ciety. Captain Sturt, during his late hazardous expedition to Central Australia, 
met with aborigines more tall and more handsomely formed than those of any 
of the tribes hitherto encountered. Like the aborigines of North Australia, as 
observed by Dr Leichardt, they made use of food prepared by bruising, and 
baking seeds. 

of the Aborigines of Australia. 235 

tinct character of the respective tribes in varying the language of 
each, remarks, " that although there are sufficient evidences of the 
common origin of their language, even tribes separated from each 
other by comparatively limited spaces, scarcely retain the means of 
common conversational intercourse." He instances one curious cus- 
tom or superstition, prevalent amongst some of the aboriginal popula- 
tion, the continuance of which throughout successive ages, must at 
length introduce extensive diversities into the language of each of 
the separate tribes. This is the practice of never again uttering 
the names of individuals of the tribe after their decease, especially 
in cases where death has occurred through violence. On one occa- 
sion, an individual of a tribe, whose name w r as the term for fire, was 
murdered by one of a different tribe ; and, in accordance with the 
usage just alluded to, the word representing fire was thenceforth 
discontinued, and a new term created. It is easy to conceive that 
such alterations might occur frequently.* 

Count Strzelecki is of this opinion, however, that there has been 
too much haste and eagerness in deciding on the affinities of the 
languages of the various tribes, and referring them all to one com- 
mon root. The three natives who accompanied Captain Flinders 
and Captain King, and those who accompanied himself, were unable 
to understand one word spoken by the tribes of other districts.f 

7. Religious and Social Institutions, Customs, and Manners. 

Religious Ideas. — The nature of the religion and government of 
the Australian aborigines, remarks Count Strzelecki, is still involved 
in mystery. They certainly recognise a God, whom they call 
" Great Master," regarding themselves as his slaves ; and hence, 
probably, they entertain no feeling of obligation or gratitude for the 
gift of life, or their other enjoyments, considering that it is the Great 
Master's duty to supply them with these. They believe in a future 
immortality of happiness, and place their heaven in the locality of 
the stars. They do not dread the Deity. Their fears are reserved 
for the evil spirit, who counteracts the work of the Great Master, 
and consequently the former is the object to whom their worship is 

According to Mr Eyre, the natives of the Murray entertain the 
belief that there are four individuals called Nooreele, who live among 

* Dredge, p. 7. 

t Strzelecki, p. 337. — Mr Hull brings forward some curious coincidences of 
sounds and meanings in aboriginal Australian words with those of several 
languages, ancient and modern, of the northern hemisphere. But these for- 
tuitous or isolated facts can lead to no definite results ; unless, indeed, to shew 
that some branch of the Australian tongue may approach, in the possibility of 
accidents, more nearly to Greek or Latin, than to the ever-changing dialects of 
its own stock. — (Remarks, &c. p. 7.) 

236 On the Condition and Prospects 

the clouds and never die. Of these superior powers, the Father, 
who is omnipotent, and of a benevolent character, created the earth 
and its various objects. The Nooreele are joined by the souls 
(literally shadows) of men after death, and they are thenceforth 

Social Institutions. — Strzelecki observes there are three social 
gradations or classes among the aborigines. These successive steps 
are attained through age and fidelity to the tribe. The highest class, 
consisting commonly of the aged few, is the only one that is initiated 
into the religious mysteries, and the regulation of the affairs of the 
tribe. The meetings of this class are of a sacred and secluded cha- 
racter. On one of these occasions, he himself was warned off from 
the vicinity, and could not, without personal danger, have approached 
within ten miles of the meeting. 

The aborigines are divided into a number of tribes, some much 
more numerous than others, but the greatest of them seldom con- 
sisting of more than two or three hundred individuals. But these 
tribes, whether large or small, weak or powerful, are always perfectly 
distinct, separate from and independent of one another, each inhabit- 
ing a tract of country of its own. The general control and manage- 
ment of their affairs appears to be, by mutual consent, in the hands 
of the adult males respectively of each tribe. 

Manners and Customs. — The result of this exclusive feeling is a 
narrowness of mind, arising from inexperience and want of informa- 
tion. Each tribe denominates as " wild black fellows" all others who 
are beyond the limits of its acquaintance. Every stranger who pre- 
sents himself uninvited among them, incurs the penalty of death. 
This sanguinary custom is traceable to a superstitious belief that the 
death of any member of a tribe is occasioned by the hand of some 
enemy, who has come upon him unawares ; and hence any stranger 
found in the camp is suspected of being upon this hostile mission. 
So general is this exclusive and hostile feeling, says Mr Thomas, that 
measures should be adopted to prevent any parties from taking blacks 
out of their own districts. 

This belief or superstition has originated the practice, on the oc- 
casion of a death in the tribe, of sacrificing some individual of a 
neighbouring tribe, who is supposed to be the murderer. The plan 

, — __ 1 1 _ __ 

* The description given by the aborigines of their religious ideas appear 
vague and undefined, and different among the separate tribes. In pursuing in- 
quiries on this subject, there must be great difficulty on both sides in compre- 
hending the precise nature, both of the questions and the answers. The caves 
and paintings discovered by Captain Grey are a curious circumstance in the 
religious indications of the aborigines, and betoken more of system and reflec- 
tion in their minds than might be expected from their appearance and general 
characteristics. — (See Mr Hull's " Remarks" p. 28, where sketches of the paint- 
ings are given.) 

Aborigines of Australia. 237 

adopted for the discovery of the supposed criminal, is to watch the 
course taken by any insect near the body, and to follow their prey 
in that particular direction.* 

Count Strzelecki confirms this statement, in an interesting account 
he gives of his rencontre on one occasion with a tribe of aborigines 
in Gipps Land. The tribe was seen encamped around a pond ; and 
as the traveller had been several days without water, he would have 
instantly rushed forward to quench his burning thirst. But his guide 
earnestly prevented him, and they sat down near the encampment. 
After an interval of a quarter of an hour, a piece of burning wood 
was thrown to them, with which they lighted their fire, and proceeded 
to cook an opposum they had in store. The guide then began gnaw- 
ing the stick, occasionally stirring the fire, at times casting his looks 
sideways. Presently a calabash of water was brought them. After 
appeasing hunger and thirst, the traveller was about to close his 
weary eyes, when an old man came out from the camp. The guide 
met him half way, and a parley ensued as to the object of the Count's 
wandering. The old man having returned with the answer, a thril- 
ling and piercing voice was next heard relating the subject to the 
tribe. Silence ensued for a few moments, after which the travellers 
were ordered to return whence they came. There was no appeal. 

Connected with these wary and distrustful feelings of the abori- 
gines is, perhaps, to be considered the strong repugnance they mani- 
fest to revisiting a spot where one of their tribe has happened to die. 
At the German mission, after many abortive attempts, several natives 
were at length induced to clear some ground and" erect slab huts for 
their own residence. A few weeks afterwards, however, a death oc- 
curred amongst the group, which caused the huts to be deserted, nor 
could any entreaty, or the inclemency of the weather, tempt them to 

The mode of disposing of the dead varies according to the usage 

* Smythe, 2. Similar information was given to the writer several years ago, 
regarding the natives of the Colac district. The occurrence of a death, even 
though from accident or natural causes, is attributed to some party of a neigh- 
bouring tribe, who has secretly abstracted the kidney fat of his supposed victim, 
this being a favourite morsel, among the blacks, and frequently plucked out and 
devoured from the living bodies of their enemies. Their manner of proceeding 
is to bury the body in the ground, carefully smoothing the surface, so that it may- 
exhibit the dii'ection taken by any animal or living creature over the grave. 
The tribe immediately starts off in the direction first indicated, and the first 
strange native who is met with becomes the victim. It is not perhaps to be 
wondered at, that, under the influence of superstition, which exerts such power- 
ful and inexplicable effects even upon civilised man, the fact of the entire out- 
ward aspect of the body of the comrade thus avenged, and the actual presence 
of the untouched fat itself, should not in any wise affect the case. The Colac 
tribes are now much reduced in number ; and the thickly planted pastoral set- 
tlements of that romantic and beautiful country, have probably had the effect 
of blunting the edge of their zest for these senseless barbarities. 


238 On the Condition and Prospects 

of the district and the age of the deceased. One process is by simple 
burial ; another, the burning of the body ; a third, drying the body 
in the sun. The lamentations for the dead are frequently prolonged 
beyond the time of burial, and the cries of the women may be heard 
by the traveller during the midnight hours, as they issue with strange 
and varied effect from the lonely woods.* 

Amongst these wandering; tribes, it is curious to find that the rite 
of circumcision is practised, and, to all appearance, very generally, 
throughout Australia. Dr Leichardt, in his Journal, mentions that 
all the aboriginal tribes that were met with by his party around the 
Gulf of Carpentaria, practised this rite. It is also practised by the 
aborigines of the Colony of South Australia, which is situated at the 
opposite part of the country.-f Cannibalism does not appear to pre- 
vail extensively throughout Australia ; it exists in some of the tribes.]: 

8. General Character, and Degree of Aptitude for Employment 
and Civilisation. 

The qualities and capabilities of the aboriginal mind are the subject 
of considerable diversity of opinion. By those who have most ex- 
perienced its workings, the aptitude for civilised life, and the per- 
ception of moral obligations are in general portrayed in very dis- 
couraging colours. There is, indeed, with the aborigines, a facility 
of imitation of European manners and habits, united to a simplicity 
and docility of character, arising actually from a prostration of spirit 
and quiescence of the higher departments of the mind, that are ever 
apt to give favourable impressions to an ardent disposition. § The 
most tractable and the most promising, wearied out, after a period, by 
the monotonous avocations of civilised life, or drawn aside from a 
course of apparent well-doing by some ancestral custom or supersti- 

* The Port-Philip aborigines plaster the face and hair of the head with 
white clay, when mourning for the death of a member of the family. 

t Mr Hull's " Remarks on the Probable Origin and Antiquities of the Abo- 
rigines," (just published) page 16, where he describes the manner of perform- 
ing the operation. 

X The aborigines of the southern parts of Australia are said to make use of 
human skulls as drinking vessels, — a statement, however, which the writer has 
not heard properly confirmed. Every gin or wife, it is stated, possesses this 
description of calabash, which she usually fabricates herself; and the aborigines 
appear to have practised the art of fashioning these vessels from time immemo- 
rial. According to Professor Owen, this is the first instance of the habitual 
conversion of a part of the human skeleton to a drinking vessel. 

§ Yet Mr Eyre describes the character of the Australian as frank, open, and 
confiding, and, when once on terms of intimacy, marked by a freedom and 
fearlessness that by no means countenance the impression so generally enter- 
tained of his treachery. The apparent inconsistency here is in expecting from 
the native the same rules of thought and motives of action that prevail with 
civilised man, and regarding as treachery that conduct which is simply the re- 
sult of a radically unchanged mind and habits. 

of the Aborigines of Australia. 239 

tious usage, some temptation of uncontrolled appetite, or strong ap- 
peal to the instinctive workings of an unreflecting mind, may sud- 
denly throw aside the loose and cumbrous mantle of civilisation, and 
return with unabated zest to his native woods and his original bar- 
barism. >rlJ y/J 

Degree of aptitude for the employments of Civilised life. — In a 
country like New South Wales, where there is generally a great 
demand for labouring population, the most favourable opportunities 
constantly offer for introducing the aborigines within the pale of 
civilisation, and enrolling them in the ranks of the labouring com- 
munity of the country. But all attempts, to effect this object have, 
generally speaking, proved a failure. Accustomed to habits and pur- 
suits and ideas altogether different, those exhibited by Europeans 
appear to them incomprehensible, and they cannot be induced to re- 
main steadily at any particular occupation. They soon exhibit symp- 
toms of impatience, and a sensation of irksomeness under the mono- 
tony of ordinary daily labour. Although they seem as intelligent, 
comparatively speaking, as the working people around them, speak 
English in some instances remarkably well, have a full knowledge of 
the value of money, and are quite competent to form notions of the 
comforts of civilised life, yet they appear totally indifferent to these 
attractions, and prefer their own misery and wretchedness. 

But amidst the thousand varieties of employment useful and neces- 
sary to society, it is not to be expected, but that even the wildest 
passions and the most unruly habits may find some 'fitting sphere 
of congenial activity. A number of the aborigines have been 
formed into a body of "Native Police," for the protection of the 
interior districts, and appear to have even exceeded expectation in 
this capacity. According to Mr Powlett, about forty natives of 
the tribe soutflf of the Yarra, are employed in this police force. 
They are of great utility to travellers, from " their knowledge of 
locality, quickness of perception, endurance of fatigue, and their 
facility in procuring water and sustenance." The Messrs M' Arthur 
employ two aborigines as shepherds, who receive the usual wages 
of that class ; and according to Mr Powlett, about fifteen or twenty 
are similarly employed in his district, who are remunerated by sup- 
plies of rations and clothing. The Berrima tribes, during harvest 
time, are generally employed in reaping, which they perform very 
well, and are remunerated partly in money and partly in clothing, 
and tea, sugar, and tobacco. But though active enough for a while, 
and indeed frequently the best labourers in the field, they are not 
enduring. Only a few can be induced to work at a time, and these 
but for a short period. When fatigued, they will not work for any 
consideration. The Pvev. Mr Schmidt, who also notices their want 
of steadiness, though quite able to perform all kinds of manual labour 
without difficulty, remarks that from five to seven weeks, at one 

R 2 

240 (hi the Condition and Prospects 

time is the longest period he lias known natives to continue at work 
in one place. 

Though legislative enactments may do little, observes Mr Bol- 
leston, yet much may be accomplished individually with the aborigines; 
and he instances his own black servant, whom he finds more service- 
able in every respect than a white man. 

Moral character. — The Rev. Mr Schmidt feelingly describes the 
wnnt of gratitude in the aboriginal mind. At the Missionary station, 
notwithstanding every kindness, the natives would steal all they 
could get at. Those on whom the missionaries had bestowed the 
greatest attention, appeared to have turned out the worst of all, and 
were in reality the ringleaders in mischief and wickedness. One of 
them speared one of the missionaries, who narrowly escaped being 
roasted and devoured. They have occasioned great destruction of 
property at some of the stations, independently of what they con- 
sumed. u In fact, they have, although they have been fed, and re- 
ceived wages at our station, attacked and plundered the gardens, and 
taken away whatever they could." Mr Massie instances a hut- 
keeper* who was invariably kind to the aborigines, but whom they 
treacherously and barbarously murdered, j- 

" The female aborigines," remarks Mr Dunlop, who appears to 
have considered the subject with the warm interest and the inspiring 
hopes of a religious mind, i( are as modest in demeanour, and quite 
as morally conducted as the native, or otherwise free women. There 
is no instance of their leaving their tribe, or connecting themselves 
with the white labouring population."" 

Aptitude for instruction. — Testimony has been repeatedly fur- 
nished that there is no general defect or incapacity in the aboriginal 
mind with regard to memory, quickness of perception, or even the 
acquirement of the usual elements of education. •This is abun- 
dantly exemplified in the success of the present experimental school 
for aboriginal children at the Meri Meri Creek, under the direction 
of Mr Peacock. This quickness of the aboriginal children is alluded 
to by Mr Dredge, in regard to the facility with which they learn to 
read ; and he further remarks the readiness with which the young 
men take up various branches of pastoral labour. Mr Massie states 
that a young half-caste boy he has in charge, is rapidly advancing 
in his education, and exhibits even greater aptitude for learning than 
is generally met with in a white boy of his own age. 

Mental capacity. — But the symptoms are more doubtful with re- 
gard to the higher mental indications. Apt in many departments of 


* The servant at the squatting out-stations, who acts as cook, &c, is usually 
so called, in contradistinction to those who go forth dailv with the sheep. 

t With characteristics of this description, it is rather amusing to under- 
stand that they entertain an insuperable objection to wearing any slop clothing 

that rcseiutdes the convict dress. — Dunlop, 12. 

of the Aborigines of Australia. 211 

knowledge, minutely observant of transactions, often amazingly 
shrewd and intelligent, the untutored savage shines with a lustre of 
his own, which appears in some respects as much superior, as in 
others it is manifestly inferior in the comparison with the civilised 
man. The casual observer is perplexed by seeming inconsistencies. 
But it is here that these two classes of mankind most widely diverge. 
In answer to a question from the Committee on this subject, the 
Rev. Mr Schmidt admitted that any high degree of intelligence can- 
not be communicated to any black in one generation. He regards 
the aboriginal Australian as the lowest in the scale of the human 
race that has come under his notice, " They have no idea of a 
Divine Being ; the impressions which we sometimes thought we had 
made upon them prove quite transient. Their faculties, especially 
their memories, are in some respects very good ; but they appear to 
have no understanding of things they commit to memory- — I mean 
connected with religion." There is, he continues, either something 
wanting in their minds that occasions this defect of understanding 
upon abstract matters, " or it is slumbering so deeply, that nothing 
but Divine power can awaken it." The testimony of Mr Parker is 
to a similar effect. The conveyance of truth, says he, to the mind 
of an Australian savage is attended with formidable, he might al- 
most say insuperable, difficulties. a What can be done with a 
people whose language knows no such terms as justice, sin, guilt, 
&c. ; and to whose minds the -ideas conveyed by such are utterly 
foreign and inexplicable." 

(To be concluded in next Number.) 

___ — , , j 

On the Geysers of California. 

Professor Forest Shepherd, in a communication published 
in Silliman's Journal, September 1851, gives an account of 
some remarkable geysers discovered by him north-west of 
the Napa Valley, California. Mr Shepherd having noticed, 
what he conceived to be, a line of thermal action in the Napa 
Valley, especially near the foot of Mount St Helena, deter- 
mined to trace it, and find its seat or focus of greatest inten- 
sity. With this object in view, he travelled, in company with 
a select party, in a direction north-west of the Napa Valley, 
and after encamping one or two nights in the rain, and 
wandering through almost impenetrable thickets, reached the 
summit of a peak on the morning of the fourth day. The 
scene presented from this point is described as follows : — 
" On the north, almost immediately at our feet, there opened 

242 On the Geysers of California 

an immense chasm, apparently formed by the rending of the 
mountains in a direction from west to east. The sun's rays 
had already penetrated into the narrow valley, and so lighted 
up the deep defile, that, from a distance of four or five miles, 
we distinctly saw clouds and dense columns of steam rapidly 
rising from the banks of the little river Pluton. It was now 
the 8th of February, the mountain peaks in the distance were 
covered with snow, while the valley at our feet wore the ver- 
dant garb of summer. It was with difficulty we could per- 
suade ourselves that we were not looking down upon some 
manufacturing city, until, by a tortuous descent, we arrived 
at the spot where at once the secrets of the inner world opened 
upon our astonished senses. In the space of half a mile 
square we discovered from one to two hundred openings, 
through which the steam issued with violence, sending up 
columns of dense vapour to the height of one hundred and fifty 
to two hundred feet. The roar of the largest tubes would 
be heard for a mile or more, and the sharp hissing of the 
smaller ones is still ringing in my ears. Many of them would 
work spasmodically, precisely like high-pressure engines, 
throwing out occasional jets of steam, or volumes of hot 
scalding water, some twenty or thirty feet, endangering the 
lives of those who rashly ventured too near. In some places 
the steam and water come in contact so as to produce a con- 
stant 'jet d'eau* or spouting fountain, with a dense cloud 
above the spray, affording vivid prismatic hues in the sun- 
shine. Numerous cones are formed by the accumulation of 
various mineral salts and a deposit of sulphur crystals with 
earthy matter, which often harden into crusts of greater or 
less strength and thickness. Frequently the streams of 
boiling water would mount up to the top of the cones with 
violent ebullition. Some of the cones appear to be immense 
boiling caldrons, and you hear the lashing and foaming 
gyrations beneath your feet as you approach them. It is 
then a moment of intense interest — curiosity impels you 
forward — fear holds you back ; and while you hesitate the 
thin crust under your feet gives way, and* you find yourself 
sinking into the fiery maelstrom below. The writer, on one 
occasion, heard the rushing water under his feet. He struck 

On the Geysers of California. 243 

down an axe, which, on the first blow, went through into the 
deep whirlpool the whole length of the helve. He withdrew 
it and cut an opening, which revealed a stream of angry water, 
boiling intensely, and of unknown breadth and depth. He 
continued to enlarge the opening until the stream was seen 
to be five or six feet in breadth, leading on indefinitely into 
the dark caverns beneath the mountains, riri( r t 

" At the base of the cones, in the bottom of the ravines, and 
in the bed and on the north bank of the river Pluton, springs 
almost innumerable break out, which are of various qualities 
and temperatures, from icy coldness up to the boiling point. 
You may here find sulphur water precisely similar to the 
celebrated white sulphur of Green Brier County, Va., except 
its icy coldness ; also red, blue, and even black sulphur water, 
both cold and hot ; also pure limpid hot water without any 
sulphur or chlorine salts, calcareous hot waters, magnesian 
chalybeate, &c, in an almost endless variety. Where the 
heated sulphuretted hydrogen gas is evolved, water appears 
to be suddenly formed, beautiful crystals of sulphur deposited, 
(not sublimed as by fire) and more or less sulphuric acid 
generated. In some places the acid was found so strong as 
to turn black kid gloves almost immediately to a deep red. 
Where the heated gas escapes in the river Pluton, such is 
the amount of sulphur deposited, that the whole bed of the 
stream is made white for one or two miles below. Notwith- 
standing that the rocks and earth in many places are so hot 
as to burn your feet through the soles of your boots, there 
is yet no appearance of a volcano in this extraordinary spot. 
Were the action to cease, it would be difficult, after a few 
years, to persuade men that it ever existed. There is no 
appearance of lava. You find yourself not in a solfatara, 
nor one of the salses, described by Humboldt. The rocks 
around you are rapidly dissolving under the powerful meta- 
m orphic action going on. Porphyry and jasper are trans- 
formed into a kind of potter's clay. Pseudotrappean and 
magnesian rocks are consumed much like wood in a slow fire, 
and go to form, sulphate of magnesia and other products. 
Granite is rendered so soft that you may crush it between 
your fingers, and cut it as easily as bread unbaked. The 

244 On the Geiisers of California. 

feldspar appears to be converted partly into alum. In the 
mean time the boulders and angular fragments brought down 
the ravines and river by the floods are being cemented into 
a firm conglomerate, so that it is difficult to dislodge even a 
small pebble, the pebble itself sometimes breaking before the 
cementation yields. 

" The thermal action on wood in this place is also highly 
interesting. In one mound I discovered the stump of a large 
tree, silicified ; in another, a log changed to lignite or brown 
coal. Other fragments appeared midway between petrifac- 
tion and carbonization. In this connection, finding some 
drops of a very dense fluid, and also highly refractive, I was 
led to believe that pure carbon might, under such circum- 
stances, crystallise and form the diamond. Unfortunately 
for me, however, I lost the precious drop in attempting to 

secure it. 


" A green tree cut down and obliquely inserted in one of the 
conical mounds, was so changed in thirty-six hours, that its 
species would not have been recognised, except from the 
portion projecting outside, around which beautiful crystals 
of sulphur had already formed. 

" From the thermal exhalations and the amount of sulphur 
deposited, it might be supposed that the progress of vegeta- 
tion would be retarded ; but such is not the fact, on the con- 
trary, it is greatly facilitated. The Quercus sempervirens, or 
evergreen oak, flourishes in beauty within fifty feet of the 
boiling and angry geysers. Maples and alders, from one to 
two feet in diameter, grow within twenty or thirty feet of 
the hottest steam pipes. This, however, may be accounted 
for by the cold surface water flowing down from the adjacent 
mountains. Multitudes of grizzly bears make their beds on 
the warm grounds. Panthers, deer, hares, and squirrels, also 
take up their winter quarters in the very midst of the geyser 
mounds. Farther down the stream, on the terraced banks 
of the limpid Pluton, vegetation actually runs wild; and the 
winter months exhibit all the fancied freshness of primeval 
Eden. I have traced the influence of this* thermal action 
from two to three hundred miles on the Pacific coast in Cali- 
fornia, out only in this place have I been permitted to witness 

Professor C. U. Shepard on Meteorites. 245 

its astonishing intensity. The metamorphic action going on 
is, at this moment, effecting important changes in the struc- 
ture and conformation of the rocky strata. It is not stationary, 
but apparently moving slowly eastward in the Pluton Valley." 
— {American Annual of Scientific Discovery, for 1852.) 

On Meteorites. By Charle&JJpham Shepard, M.D., Pro- 
fessor of Chemistry and Mineralogy. Communicated by 

the Author.* 

>iW3 noii 

1. Tuttehpore, Hindostan, Nov. 30, 1822. 

This stone, so far as I am informed, has not been described. 
It is barely mentioned by Prof. Partsch, in the Appendix, 
p. 142, of his Catalogue of Meteorites in the Imperial Collec- 
tion at Vienna (1843), as not yet brought into Europe. While 
in Edinburgh last year, I was informed by Mr Alexander 
Rose, that a fine specimen of this locality existed in the cabinet 
of Thomas M'Pherson Grant, Esq., by whom I was very 
obligingly presented with a fragment, and the means of mak- 
ing the present communication. 

The fall took place in the evening at Tuttehpore, which is 
situated seventy- two miles from Allahabad, on the Cawnpore 
road, in lat. 25° 57' N., and long. 80° 50' E. The meteor 
from which the stone was ejected, was of large size, surpass- 
ing the full moon in apparent magnitude as well as splen- 
dour. It passed from south-east to north-west. A number 
of stones fell, the largest of which weighed. 22 lb., but that 
in the possession of Mr Grant was the only one in an entire 
state which was found. It was brought from India by Dr 
Tytler, by whom it was presented to its present owner. 

The stone is oval, slightly compressed, indented, and 
possesses a brownish-black crust. Its weight is about 2 lb. 
It is fine-grained, trachytic, and resembles most closely the 
stones of Poltawa (March 12, 1811), and of Castine (May 20, 
1848.) Sp. gr. = 3-352. 



* Read before the American Association for the Advancement of Science ; at 
New Haven, August 1850, 

246 Professor C. U. Shepard on Meteorites. 

2. Char wallas, 30 miles from Hissar, India, June 12, 1834. 
This is another stone of which the only notice I have met 

with is found in the Appendix of the above-mentioned work 
(p. 143), Prof. Partsch remarking that no portion of the mass 
had made its way into Europe. The entire stone is in the 
possession of Prof. Jameson, to whom it had been presented 
— for the Museum of Natural History in the University of 
Edinburgh — by a gentleman resident in India at the time of 
its fall. Its exact weight I am not able to give ; but I have 
the impression that it cannot fall short of 7 lb. or 8 lb. I owe a 
slice of it to the kindness of Professor Jameson, from an exa- 
mination of which I am able to give the following description. 

It is one of the toughest stones, if we except those of 
Chantonnay (Aug. 5, 1812) and Cabbarras Co., N.C. (Oct. 31, 
1849), with which I am acquainted. It is filled with iron 
rust, like certain weathered, fine granular granites, in conse- 
quence of which, and the smallness of the particles of com- 
position, it is impossible to recognise the mineral species 
(with the exception of the nickeliferous iron) of which it is 
made up, although olivinoid, and one of the feldspar species, 
appear to be the leading ingredients. 

On exposure to the air, it deliquesces, yielding chloride of 
iron ; but this does not prove chlorine to have been an ori- 
ginal ingredient of the stone, since the mass, as in the case of 
one of the Iowa (Feb. 25, 1847) stones, may have been since its 
fall in some situation where chlorine has been imparted to it. 

Its specific gravity is 3*38. It contains 15*07 per cent, of 
nickeliferous iron, with traces of sulphur. The stony part con- 
sists of silica, magnesia, protoxide of iron, alumina, and lime. 

it ni) bar 

3. Meteoric Iron, County Down, Ireland. Fell August 10, 

5 P.M., 1846jr nT i m 

For a knowledge of this meteorite I am indebted to my 
friend Dr John Scouler, Prof, of the Royal Dublin Institu- 
tion, who wrote me as follows, respecting its fall, in February 
1848. " I believe 1 must give you the credit of having dis- 
covered another meteorite in Ireland, or in other words, but 
for you I would not have been at the pains of finding it out. 
The stone or stones fell in 1844, in the north of the county 

Professor C. U. Shepard on Meteorites. 247 

of Down, and were seen to fall by some of the coast-guard. 
You will find two small specimens of this stone along with 
the other specimens in the box." Owing to an accident in 
the transmission of the box, the specimens were not re- 
ceived until within a few months, and hence the delay in 
making known this interesting fall of meteoric iron. The 
only additional information concerning the event, which- 1 
am at present able to eonmiunicate, is the circumstance 
mentioned in the label accompanying the specimens, " that 
the name of the man who saw the mass fall, and who picked 
it up, was Gibbon." ^okriSLIo WdabmA edi oi iito eoite 

The following is all that I am able at present to make 
known concerning the mass. It is malleable, homogeneous, 
and amygdaloidal. Specific gravity variable ; vesicular por- 
tions = 5*9. Crust thick, sometimes one-third of an inch, and 
consists of mixed oxides of iron, somewhat coated by blue 
phosphate of iron (vivianite). In moist air, the chloride of iron 
deliquesces in little drops. It does not afford the Widman- 
stattian figures. It does not contain nickel, cobalt, or sulphur. 
««9io9q£ •LBqabltA edi to oao ba& Moaivilo rrguoittLe t qu ob&at 

4. Description of a Large Stone of the Linn Co., Iowa, fall of 
Feb. 25, 1847. .[. 3 j Qiuaoq: 

This stone, weighing 20 lb., has lately come into my hands 
through the agency of Rev. R. Gaylord, of Hartford, Iowa, — 
the same gentleman who procured forme the specimens which 
were picked up at the time of the explosion of the meteor, 
and of which an account was given at a former meeting of the 
Association. (See vol. iv., 288, 289, of Silliman's Journal.) 

The following statement respecting it is from the Rev. Mr 
Gay lord's letter of July 3, 1850. " It was found (in the sum- 
mer of 1847) in Hooshier Grove, by Abner Cox. He was in 
company with John Hollis, of whom I obtained two fragments 
three years ago. They have had the stone two years or more 
and by lying in the loft of a smoky cabin, it is somewhat 
dingy in appearance. This John Hollis is the man who 
ground up so much of the stones that were seen to fall, in 
order to get silver. He was the means, however, of the care- 
ful preservation of the present mass. Dr Knight found they 
had the stone, and wrote me respecting it. 

248 Professor C. U. Shepard on Meteorites. 

" The three pieces into which it broke on striking the 
ground fit together exactly,, so as to reproduce the original 
stone, with a complete coating over the whole, except on one 
side, where several small fragments were broken out by the 
fall. These were gathered up carefully, and preserved by the 

This stone is perhaps the most remarkable one thus far 
described, for its highly regular prismatic figure, which at 
once suggests the idea of a portion of a basaltic column. 
Nor can the geologist look upon it without feeling almost 
certain that it once formed part of some extensive formation 
in the world from whence it came. 


5. Meteoric Stone of Waterloo, Seneca Co., N. Y. ; fell in the 
summer of 1826 or 1827. 

For my first knowledge of this remarkable stone, I am in- 
debted to Prof. 0. Root of Hamilton College, from whose 
letter, dated Clinton, N. Y., Jan 26, 1850, the following 
abstracts are made. " On receiving your note, I wrote to 
my friends in Geneva, for the meteorite mentioned in my 
letter to President Hitchcock. Judge Watkins very willingly 
gave the specimen, and it is now in my possession, subject 
to your order. The piece is not large (it weighs about 1000 
grs.), as the original mass had been divided two or three 
times. Not being familiar with such productions, my opinion 
concerning its genuineness is of no value. Judge Watkins, 
however, is a gentleman of high respectability, and I have 
confidence in what he relates of the history of this stone. 
My attention was directed to the subject in the following 
manner : A year or two ago, while shewing some gentlemen 
a fragment of the Otsego meteoric iron, one of them observed 
that he remembered a report many years back of a stone 
falling through a roof in Waterloo, or in that vicinity. 
After many inquiries, I at last found the stone, or a frag- 
ment of it, with Judge Watkins. He relates that a hole 
was discovered in the roof of his mill, directly over a bin of 
wheat, that the opening was made through the shingles 
where the roof-boards were about five inches apart (although 
a piece was split from the roof-board on one side), and that 

Professor C. U. Shepard on Meteorites. 249 

under the hole there appeared a depression in the grain, 
which led to an examination that resulted in the discovery 
of the stone. The Judge inferred that the stone had fallen 
through the roof, as its size was too great to have allowed 
its admission into the bin along with the grain, which was 
raised by means of elevators. He also supposed it to have 
been of atmospheric origin, as the mill was four storeys high 
and as the nature of the stone was unlike any of the mineral 
productions of the region, the rock in situ at Waterloo 
being the Seneca limestone. He was not positive whether it 
was found in 1826 or 1827. The stone was divided for Dr 
Hale, President of Geneva College."* 

The specimen presented me by Prof. Root had been left 
for upwards of twenty years in the garret of Judge Watkins, 
where it appears to have been mistaken for something edible 
by the rats, who have left numerous markings of their incisor 
teeth upon its surface. Indeed, in colour and texture, it 
nearly resembles common rhubarb. Its colour is light buff 
or yellow. It is slightly coherent, and may easily be crushed 
between the fingers. Its sp. gr. = 2*30. But a small portion 
of the original crust remains, which is reddish-brown. The 
stone contains in small quantity, blackish particles attracted 
by the magnet. A surface produced by being cut with a saw, 
shews waved parallel lines of greater hardness than the rest 
of the stone. It consists of 

Silica, . . . . . . 78-80 

Peroxide of iron, .... 8*72 

jjPgj J2J 

° 1S Ure ' '_ 

, 98^55 ?RflT 
Lime and magnesia (in equal quantities), and loss, 1*45 


6. Specific gravities of two meteoric irons. 

Meteoric iron of Pittsburg, Pa., . . 7*380 aom 

Meteoric iron of Salt River, Ky., . 6-835 

* I addressed a letter of inquiry to Dr H., who informs me that the specimen 
has for some time been lost sight of in the College collection. 

250 On the Chemical Examination of 

Chem tea I Eaxt n i (nation of Drift- Weed Kelp from Orkney. By 
George W. Brown, Esq. of Glasgow. Communicated by 
the Author, through Dr It. D. Thomson, and read before 
the Philosophical Society of Glasgow.* 

Drift-weed kelp is derived from the sea-weeds which grow 
on the rocks at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. These 
plants being torn from their native soils by the force of tides 
and currents, are drifted to the north and north-west coasts 
of Scotland and Ireland, on which they are thrown by the 
surge, and being gathered are burnt either in kilns or in 
depressions dug in the ground, t By this process most of the 
organic matter is removed, although in the specimen of kelp 
investigated and described in this paper, a small portion of 
carbon and nitrogen still remained. The most important 
constituents of kelp are the iodine and potash salts. The 
carbonates were formerly used by the soapmakers, and the 
insoluble salts for the manufacture of bottle-glass. 

Previous Analyses. — Although the composition of the kelp 
salts is well known, in a general point of view, to the profes- 
sional chemist, it does not appear, from any experiments 
which have been recorded, that they have been made the 
subject of recent minute investigation. Mr Kirwan, in the 
end of the last century, published a paper, (Memoir read at 
the Royal Dublin Society, and Annales de Chimie 1793, torn. 
18, page 163), On the Alkaline Substances employed in 
Bleaching Linen. The following is his analysis of what he 
calls sweet barilla from Spain, which corresponds with kelp 
in its physical characters. xf , rm 

Carbonic acid, . j& ^ . MC[imiJ [ n } c „ 16-66 

Carbon, . . ... . . ' » r. 14'9o 

T . > : feuwv in btr iloinw <89Jjmq8oifq • Q , 
.Lime, . . . , . J y*4z 

Magnesia, . . :q Eifli ill bodriDga 2 -20 

.ioul ^o fcLiiiJ 9mo8 1o &od&& sdi 1 

* The author conducted the " Examination," under the immediate super- 
intendence of Dr Thomson. 

t History and Description of the Kelp Manufactory. Proceedings of Glas- 
gow Philosophical Society, vol. ii, page 241. By Mr Glassford. 

rj r 

Drift- Weed Kelp from Orkney. 251 

Clay, 2-27 

Silica, 4-33 

Soda pure, 14-63 

Soda impure, . >'£^*> ^ -P* 3 . JWQ&& • 4-34 
Soda with common saHJ cOF .51 id jd 2UO*n 2-20 
Sulphate of soda, g^ft > } ^ t 9 k>o£< feoiiIqo£ # 17 
Chloride of sodium, .... 1*21 

Earthy deposit, . riibi 7H9f aiqJ '34 

Water, 25-23 

In another volume of the Annales de Chimie there is a 
paper by M. Gay-Lussac, (Annales de Chimie for 1828, torn. 
39, pp. 159-163), on " The Potashes of Commerce," in 
which he has an analysis of the salts of Wareck, which is as 

follows: otcj eifft x;& f -hmsoig arfrni gut iqeb 

Sulphate of potash, t&qoi ih\ 22-2 
Chloride of potassium, . m I )dhoaQh h 24*6 
Chloride of sodium, .-^ aia& ^ J . 9^o^in 5 Bf^ rrodiB! 
This appears to be a general statement of the constitution 
of the soluble salts only. Dr Ure, in his Dictionary of 
the Arts and Manufactures, published in 1840, gives the 
extremes of his analyses of kelp as follow : — 

( Sulphate of soda, ... 8-0 19*0 J ,i fciJ 

Soluble J Carbonate of soda and j , ^ ^ in&go tail 

Salts. ] Sulphuret of sodium, J bd[n0f) ~ gWW doidw 

Muriates of potash and soda, . 36.5 375 ., 
Carbonate of lime? 1 *^ 1 te «™ [ ^mW^bW i0 *W D 
Silica, . . .'•9ff8jf(fuq^iiri«sOiei3l09tft. ^oBxi9 
Alumina, with oxide of iron, -^teiooS'ftjfdiJG^OB^oJl edi 
Sulphate of lime, . . . O0 e (8d£*%*sq M 

Sulphur and loss, . . . JH) JK> ^ 

too doiffv/* ? akq8 mq^ofillhjQQ^ alto 

The peculiarity of those results is in the presence of a 
large quantity of alumina, and the absence of phosphate of 
lime and alkaline phosphates, which are at variance with the 
analyses to be described in this paper.* 

There are analyses of the ashes of some kinds of fuci, viz., 

* The quantity of phosphate of lime analyses corresponds with what Dr Ure 
terms alumina. It would be difficult to explain the source of such an amount 
of this earth, as alumina rarely or never enters into the constitution of the 
vegetable kingdom. 

252 On the Chemical Examination of 

F. digitatus, F. vesiculosus, F. nodosus, and F. serratus, in 
Liebig's Annalen, vol. liv., p. 350, by Mr J. Gbdechens of 
Hamburg, published in 1845. The following table gives the 
calculated mean of these analyses : — 

Potash, 11*67 

Soda 12-54 

Lime, 11-32 

Magnesia, 8*29 

Oxide of iron, . . . l oea \ . Pg&iwtfd 

Chloride of sodium, .... 20-61 

Iodide of sodium, .... 1-33 

Sulphuric acid, « «■ r 7 ? ' :8 ^* ? VI ^9-77 
Phosphoric acid, . IT 9&Bfl 8£W 2-19 

Silica, . . eaik its gao&te Ajftlw f INMf ^19V 
Carbonic acid, . . « IJ30 -8fl >ii'ioq d/$' 2 7 

Carbon, . . < 9 jtfjrfaa"-^ha(Q ajsvr rt .fi'^ gorri 
c doidw t i9bwoq . ,7 <i9i/iY/ ni bsylosa^mjofeefli 

i'fsq 9mj599d .boiiirgi aad 
Analysis of Orkney Drift-Weed Kelp. 

For the specimen of kelp subjected to examination I am 
indebted to W. Paterson, Esq., alkali-merchant, Glasgow. 
The investigation was conducted in the laboratory of the Uni- 
versity of Glasgow, under the superintendence of Dr R. D. 
Thomson. In making these analyses the first points to be 
determined were, the quantity of soluble and insoluble salts 
and water. To effect the first object, a portion of the kelp 
was digested in water, the solution and residue thrown upon 
a weighed filter and washed till all the soluble salts were 
removed. The insoluble salts were then dried at 212° F : — 

t . ,, An Soluble Salts Insoluble Salts Solu ^le Salts 
Insoluble Salts. , w , , and Water 

and Water. per cent. 

1 per cent. 

400 grains gave 11480 285*20 28-700 71*3 

500 ... 155-49 344-51 31-098 68902 

1000 ... 294-10 705-90 29-410 70-59 

Mean, 29-736 70-264 

Water. — The quantity of water was estimated by heating 
the kelp at 212° F. till it ceased to loose weight : — 

Water. AVater per cent. 

200 grains gave 13-60 6*8 

If the quantity of water be subtracted from the soluble 

Drift- Weed Kelp from Orkney. 253 

salts and water, the real amount of soluble salts will be ob- 
tained, which is as follows : — 

Insoluble Salts. Soluble Salts. Water. 

29-736 63-464 6-8 

Analysis of Insoluble Salts. 

The following is the description of analyses and results 
obtained from the insoluble salts. 

Testing Analysis of Insoluble Salts. — Before proceeding to 
the quantitative analysis of the insoluble salts, a qualitative 
investigation was made. The kelp under examination was 
very hard, with a strong alkaline taste, and greyish colour, 
with black portions of carbonaceous matter interspersed 
through it. It was partly soluble in water. That which re- 
mained undissolved in water was a greyish powder, which, 
when ignited, became perfectly white. On addition of acid 
to the insoluble matter, carbonic acid and sulphuretted hydro- 
gen were evolved, and the greater part of the salts dissolved, 
that which remained being silica. The portion thus dissolved 
in acid gave, on addition of ammonia, a copious precipitate, 
which proved on examination to be phosphate of lime. To 
prove the presence of phosphoric acid it was converted into 
phosphate of iron by Berthier's method, and the phosphoric 
acid precipitated, as ammonia phosphate of magnesia, the 
iron being detained by tartaric acid, with a trace of iron. On 
the phosphate of lime being separated by nitration, the nitrate 
gave, with oxalate of ammonia, a white pulverulent precipi- 
tate, proving the presence of lime, which must originally have 
existed as carbonate or sulphuret. After the oxalate of lime 
had been removed, phosphate of soda and ammonia produced 
a white crystalline precipitate, indicating the presence of 

Quantitative Analysis of Insoluble Salts. 

Estimation of Organic Matter. — As has been already men- 
tioned, the specimen of kelp under examination had not been 
entirely freed from nitrogenous matter. This was discovered 
while deflagrating a portion of the kelp with nitre, when a 


254 On the Chemical Examination of 

strong smell of ammonia was given out. At first it was sup- 
posed that this might originate from the decomposition of 
the nitre, but on further investigation it was observed that 
the kelp when ignited without the nitre, produced the same 
odour. A quantitative determination of the nitrogen, hydro- 
gen, and carbon, was therefore made. 

Estimation of Nitrogen. — The nitrogen was determined in 
the usual manner by combustion with soda lime, and passing 
the ammonia through muriatic acid. The muriate of ammo- 
nia thus formed was precipitated, by means of the bichloride 
of platinum, as the yellow ammonia-muriate of the bichloride 
of platinum, which was thrown on a weighed filter, washed 
with alcohol, and dried at 212° Fahr. 

ijg&fiSSi Ni » JESS 

20 grains gave 2-1 -1317 '6585 

Carbon and Hydrogen. — To prepare the carbonaceous mat- 
ter for analysis, 300 grains of the kelp were carefully washed 
with distilled water, by which process the soluble salts were 
removed. The matter which was insoluble in water, was 
digested in dilute acid, when the insoluble salts were taken 
up, and organic matter with silica remained unacted on. The 
carbonaceous matter and silica in 300 grains were equal to 
14-46 grains. This residue was then subjected to combustion 
with oxide of copper. The following are the results : — 


per cent. 

Amount of carbonic acid obtained 10-12 2-76 -920 

Hvdro-en Hydrogen, 

J fa ' per cent. 

... Water obtained 3-47 -433 -144 

i'fuif qfire 

When the matter insoluble in water was subjected to 

ignition in a platinum crucible it lost in weight from the 

dissipation of the organic matter ; but along with organic 

matter a minute quantity of sulphur and carbonic oxide from 

the decomposition of the carbonate of lime were also driven 

off, which rendered the results, as far as concerns the organic 

matter, not strictly accurate. 

Drift- Weed Kelp from Orkney. 255 

Loss by Ignition. Loss ^ l ^ loU > 

400 grains gave 11-52 2-88 

500 ... 12-18 2.437 

500 ... 1215 3-431 

Mean, 2-582 , u0 £) 

Estimation of Silica and Sand. — A portion of the kelp was 
weighed out, and the soluble salts washed out with boiling 
water. When this was accomplished the insoluble salts 
were dried, and the carbonaceous matter removed by ignition, 
after which they were dissolved in muriatic acid, which took 
up the insoluble salts, and left the silica and sand. This 
residue was then boiled with carbonate of soda, which re- 
moved the previously combined silica, and the sand remained. 

Silica & Sand. Silica. Sand. Silica, Sand, 

per cent, per cent. 

400 grains gave 13-24 7'01 6-23 1-75 1'55 

400 ... 13-52 7*12 6-40 1-78 1-60 

Mean, 1*765 1-575 

Estimation of Carbonic Acid. — The carbonic acid was deter- 
mined by introducing the insoluble salts into a flask from 
which a tube passed into another flask containing barytes 
water. The carbonic acid was disengaged by the addition of 
weak muriatic acid to the kelp. The gas passing through 
the barytes solution yielded a precipitate of carbonate of 
barytes, which was weighed. >£ hi 

Carbonate of Bar vtes. Carbonic Acid. Carbomc ^ Cld > 

J per cent. 

500 grains gave 102-05 22-91 4-580 

Estimation of Sulphur. — The sulphur was estimated by 
means of the same apparatus as was employed for the esti- 
mation of the carbonic acid ; but instead of barytes a solution 
of arsenious acid in caustic soda was used. When the 
sulphuretted hydrogen was evolved, by means of muriatic acid, 
it converted the arsenious acid into the tersulphuret of 
arsenic. ni fioiJifrgc 

As0 3 + 3 SH = AflS^j^O. Hzqizzib 

The tersulphuret of arsenic was held in solution by the 
soda ; but when muriatic acid was added the yellow tersulphu- 
ret fell. This precipitate was then thrown on a weighed filter 
and washed with water slightly acidulated with muriatic acid. 



On the Examination of 

Tersulphuret c, , . Sulphur, 

of Arsenic. *^ hxa ' percent. 

500 grains gave 5-16 1-932 -386 

Estimation of Phosphate of Lime. — The insoluble salts hav- 
ing been dissolved in acid and the silica separated, the phos- 
phate of lime was precipitated by ammonia. 

400 grains gave 
500 -- 


of Lime. 



Phosphate of 1 
per cent. 



Estimation of Alumina. — To ascertain if the phosphate of 
lime contained alumina, it was dissolved in acid, and then 
boiled in an excess of strong caustic soda, which would re- 
dissolve any alumina. It was found that it contained a 
small quantity, which was probably accidentally introduced 
by the caustic soda, or other reagents. 


400 grains gave 




per cent. 


Determination of Lime. — To the liquid from which the 
phosphate of lime had been separated oxalate of ammonia 
was added, when oxalate of lime fell. This precipitate being 
washed and heated to redness was converted into carbonate. 


ai6%V/q*3¥&od $Bw mi «r- flft^ 
500 grains gave 38-85 21-755 4-351 ; , 

Estimation of Magnesia, — Having removed the lime by 
filtration, the magnesia was precipitated by means of phos- 
phate of soda and ammonia, as the ammonia-phosphate of 
magnesia, which when heated was converted into the diphos- 
phate of magnesia [2(MgO)P0 5 ]. 

2(MgO)P05 Magnesia. 

per cent. 

- ^/^i - < He. 

500 grains gave 43-70 15-60 3'Mdq 

The results of the preceding analyses are comprehended 
in the following table : — 

Nitrogen -6585 

Hydrogen, -144 

Carbon, ...... *920 

Drift- Weed Kelp from Orkney. 




Carbonic acid, 
VJSif eifcSulphur, 


. 1-765 
. 1*575 

. 4-580 

}ffq Alumint' ° 'T' f b ™ bi ™. fli B ? 7 ' 08 '1425 ' & 
fiinomawj yd boi&friqiosiq g#w 9£8felo otedg 










Carbonate of lime, 2-591 
Phosphate of lime, 10*556 
Sulphuret of ealci um, 1-093 
Silicate of lime, . . 3*824 
Carbonate of magnesia, 6-554 
Sand, . . . . ' . 1-575 
Carbon^ yil&ittohioOS&W 
Hydrogen, .... -144 
Nitrogen .... -658 
Oxygen, . . . . 1-152 
















rforrd \? r 









1,765 oliod 



The oxygen was obtained by calculating the quantity 
necessary to form water, which being united to the nitrogen, 
would not be driven off at 212= F. ^ Qmi [^ 

Analysis of Soluble SaM.™*" «&>&* 
►wmock/jD ojrn bofrisvaoo zmi ' egprrjvvf aiboifiarf bar Jtad> 1 R3» 
Testing Analysis of Soluble Salts. — Those salts which were 

soluble in water were, before proceeding to the quantitative 
analysis, tested qualitatively. The following are the results. 
On addition of muriatic acid to the solution of the salts, an 
effervescence took place, with evolution of carbonic acid and 
sulphuretted hydrogen. Sulphuric acid produced a dark 
colour in the solution from the liberation of iodine. This, 
however, disappeared on heating the liquid, fumes of iodine 
being evolved. After precipitating the sulphurets by sul- 
phate of copper, the addition of a small quantity of sulphuric 
acid made the liquid slightly turbid from the precipitation of 
sulphur, proving the presence of a small quantity of hyposul- 
phurous acid. When nitrate of silver was added to a solu- 
tion of the salts, a black precipitate fell from the formation 
of sulphuret of silver ; but after a portion of the salts had 

258 <),> Ihi Chemical Examination of 

been boiled witb nitric acid, tbe precipitate, witb nitrate of 
silver, was white and curdy, indicating the presence of 
chlorine. Chloride of barium gave a white precipitate, part 
of which being dissolved with effervescence in nitric acid, 
indicated the presence of carbonic acid ; a white powder re- 
mained unacted on by the nitric acid, shewing that the salts 
contained sulphuric acid. After a portion of the salts had 
been heated to redness, the addition of bichloride of platinum 
produced a yellow precipitate, proving the existence of potash 
salts in the kelp. Oxalate of ammonia caused a slight pre- 
cipitate of lime ; and phosphate of soda and ammonia, after 
some time, a precipitate of ammonia-phosphate of magnesia. 

Quantitative Analysis of soluble baits. 
Estimation of Sulphuric Acid. — Having separated by filtra- 
tion a portion of the soluble from the insoluble salts, the 
sulphuric acid was precipitated in the soluble salts, by the 
addition of chloride of barium and muriatic acid, to dissolve 
sulphites and phosphates. 

Sulphate of Sulphuric Acid, 

100 grains gave 14-21 4*89 

100 ... 14-34 4-94 

Mean per centage, 4-915 

Estimation of Sulphurous Acid.— To a solution of the 
soluble salts, chloride of barium was added, which preci- 
pitated the sulphuric, sulphurous, carbonic, and phosphoric 
acids, as salts of barytes. This precipitate was thrown on 
a filter and washed with hot water. The sulphate, sulphite, 
and carbonate of barytes, which were on the filter, were 
then treated with nitric acid, which converted the sulphite 
into sulphate, and dissolved the carbonate. The sulphate 
of barytes was then washed with water and weighed. The 
difference between the weight of this precipitate, and that 
of the sulphate of barytes previously obtained, indicated the 
amount of sulphate of barytes formed by the action of the 
nitric acid on the sulphite. From this the sulphurous acid 
was calculated. 

Sulphate of Sulphuric Sulphuric Acid Dif- Sulphurous 
Barytes. Acid. before obtained, ference. Acid. 

100 grs. gave 1575 5-40 4*915 -485 -392 

Drift-Weed Kelp from Orkney. 259 

Estimation of Hyposulphurous Acid. — The soluble salts 
being separated by means of cold water from the insoluble 
salts, the sulphurets and carbonates were removed by sul- 
phate of copper. After separating this precipitate by filtra- 
tion, sulphuric acid was added to the liquid, which decomposed 
the hyposulphites, sulphurous acid being evolved, and sul- 
phur precipitated. This sulphur was then washed, dried at 
212° Fahr., and weighed, roitfblws GI ft .ggonboi o* boteed neod 
jfefitoq 3 o 9 Dfi js beonb 

a . , Hyposulphurous Hyposulphurous 

Sulphur.; }<) -Acid. Acid, per cent. 

to^ 400 grains gave '18 = 54 -135 

££iq 9^ > 6(Jcf8oj[lcrTijffiomfii l r >f T J3 , 9fni!fr 9fno# 

Estimation of Sulphur. — The quantity of sulphur in the 
soluble salts was estimated by deflagrating a portion of the 
kelp with nitre. By this process all the sulphites, hyposul- 
phites, and sulphurets were converted into sulphates. The 
sulphuric acid was then precipitated by chloride of barium, 
as sulphate of barytes, which was weighed, and the sulphuric 
acid contained in it calculated. It is obvious that the sul- 
phuric acid thus obtained comprehended all the sulphur exist- 
ing as sulphurets, and sulphur acids in the original kelps. 
If we subtract from it the sulphuric acid found to exist as 
such in the kelp, we have remaining the sulphuric acid 
equivalent to the sulphites, hyposulphites, and sulphurets in 
the kelp. If, again, we subtract from the last result the 
calculated quantity of sulphuric acid, equivalent to the sul- 
phurous-hyposulphurous acid, and the sulphuret of the 
insoluble salts, the remainder will be the sulphuric acid, 
equivalent to the sulphur of the soluble salts. 

■Ujlua 9ffT .9J£flod'Wi9 *d$ I t 9Jj3fIqIjJ8 oinx 

Sulphate of Sulphuric Sulphuric Acid, 

Barytes. Acid. per cent. 

200 grains gave 46-55 16-04 8-02 

Original sulphuric acid, 4-920 

Sulphuric acid =" Sulphurous acid, -490 3-10 
= Hyposulphurous acid, -191 
Sulphur, insol. salts, '965 

Total calculated sulphuric acid, 1*446 

Sulphuric acid = Sulphur of sol. salts, 1*654 
Sulphur, soluble salts, per cent., -6616 

260 On th< } Chemical Examination of 

Estimation of Phosphoric Acid. — To the solution from which 
the sulphuric acid had been precipitated by chloride of barium 
and muriatic acid, after separation of the precipitate, am- 
monia was added, when phosphate of barytes fell. 

Phosphate of Phosphoric Phosphoric Acid, 

Barytes. Acid. per cent. 

200 grains gave 2-02 -649 -3245 

Estimation of Carbonic Acid. — The carbonic acid in the 
soluble salts was determined in the same manner as in the 
insoluble salts, by passing the gas evolved by muriatic 
acid from the solution of the salts, through caustic barytes 
dissolved in water. The carbonic acid precipitated the 
barytes as carbonate, from which the carbonic acid was 
calculated. 0( j j 

Carbonate of Carbonic Carbonic AcicLm* 

Barytes. Acid. percent. 

500 grains gave 48-62 109 2-180 

Estimation of Chlorine. — A solution of the soluble salts 
was boiled with nitric acid to convert the sulphurets into 
sulphates ; the chlorine was then precipitated by nitrate of 

Bilvei i1jii[fj5q'loobif)oi9rIT 

15 grains gave 14-1 3-52 23-40 

15 ... 15-5 3-88 25-33 

Mean, 24-365 

F rtarfrTfrrs-acirfw «JPrLR1&d * HIJjibjjHii<7 to 8890X9 

Estimation of Iodine. — This, which is one of the most 
valuable constituents of kelp, was determined by the follow- 
ing method, which has yielded results very satisfactory : 

A portion of the kelp was exhausted of its iodides, by di- 
gestion several times in alcohol. The alcholic solution was 
then evaporated to dryness, and to convert any sulphuret 
which might have been taken up by alcohol into sulphate, 
was deflagrated with chlorate of potash, and kept at a red 
heat till any iodate that might have been formed by the 
action of the chlorate of potash, was decomposed. The mass 
was then dissolved in water, and the iodine precipitated by 
means of chloride of palladium, as iodide of palladium, which 
was drior! r.| 212 r Fahr., and weighed : 

J) rift- Weed Kelp from Orkney. 261 

1000 grains gave 4-05 2-83 -283 

1000 ... 4-35 3-06 -306 

500 ... 2-05 1-437 -287 

Mean iodine, per cent., *292 

Separation of Bromine and Iodine. — To effect the separa- 
tion of the iodine and bromine, a pound of kelp was treated 
with alcohol, which dissolved out the bromide and iodide. 
The alcohol was then driven off through the aqueous solu- 
tion of the salts. Chlorine was passed in order to decompose 
the iodide and bromide, the iodine and bromine being set free. 
This liquor, holding solution of free iodine and bromine, was 
frequently agitated with ether in a stoppered bottle. The 
aqueous solution gradually became clear on standing, and 
ether containing the bromine and iodine floated on the sur- 
face. This ethereal solution was then decanted, and satu- 
rated with soda, after which it was evaporated to dryness, 
and heated to redness, to destroy any iodate or bromate. 
The residual salts were dissolved in water, and the iodine 
precipitated by chloride of palladium. The iodide of palladium 
being separated by filtration, the excess of palladium was 
removed from the filtrate by sulphohydrate of ammonia. It 
was found in this experiment that sulphohydrate of ammonia 
answered better than sulphohydric acid for removing the 
excess of palladium ; because when sulphohydric acid is em- 
ployed, part of the sulphuret of palladium is dissolved by the 
acid which was previously united to the palladium, which 
was set free by the sulphohydric acid. Having removed the 
excess of sulphohydrate of ammonia by boiling, chlorine was 
again passed through the solution, to decompose bromide. 
The bromine which was set free was taken up by ether (this 
had a yellow colour, probably from the presence of a small 
quantity of bromine). The ethereal solution was then neu- 
tralised by soda, evaporated to dryness, and heated to redness. 
The aqueous solution of the residue gave a white precipitate 
with nitrate of silver, which consisted principally of chloride 
of silver. But from the colour of the ether, it was evident 
that it contained a small quantity of bromine. 


On the Chemical & lamination of 

Estimation of Potassium. — To determine accurately the 
quantity of potash, it was considered advisable to convert 
any potash that might exist as sulphate into chloride, which 
was effected in the following manner. From the solution of 
the salts, the sulphuric acid was precipitated by chloride of 
barium, and the sulphate of barytes separated by nitration. 
The excess of barytes was then thrown down by carbonate 
of ammonia. The liquor, after the carbonate of barytes had 
been removed, was evaporated to dryness and heated to red- 
ness, to expel the ammonia. The residue was dissolved in 
water, and the potassium precipitated by the addition of the 
sodium bichloride of platinum, as the potassium bichloride 

of platinum (KC1 PtCL). 

v 2 ibfii* 9iamoe 

(KC1 PtCl2) Potassium. 

30 grains gave 



per cent. 



Estimation of Lime. — This was determined by precipita- 
tion, as oxalate of lime ; the precipitate, when heated, was 

converted into carbonate of lime, 

Carbonate of 

1-49 -805 

2-33 1-300 

.. 132- ! 

400 grains gave 


Mean lime, per cent. 

per cent. 


Estimation of Magnesia. — The magnesia was precipitated 
from the solution of the salts by phosphate of soda and 
ammonia, as ammonia-phosphate of magnesia, which was 
converted by heat into the diphosphate of magnesia. 

Diphosphate of MaffI1Mla Magnesia, 

5.00 grains gave 



per cent. 


Mean magnesia, per cent., 



Results of Analyses of Soluble Salts. 

Sulphuric acid, 
Sulphurous acid, . 
Hyposulphurous acid, 
Phosphoric acid, . 



Drift- Weed Kelp from Orkney. 


Carbonic acid, . r „ . . . 2*1 00 

[9vflo Chlorine, . . ™™* ™ . . 24-365 

doiil Iodine, . . .' 8Ji i slxQ ? f ^ llf l -292 

Bromine, . . . rri p/tiwofjol erli trace. 

^o eh Potassiunji >9 ^tfqi9o«fq*&n7^ bio£ OFmdqfcjB 16-000 

.noli; ^ ime > D^JSlaqagT gsi^d % stadqlua • oil ■■ ^~2 airiicd 
agnesia, .^ ^-^ .... ____ •, 9 dT 

-o^-usd **o etenodije-j oift -lefts c -ro]jpiI oiIT 49-754 

The deficiency here is the soda, as may be seen by the two 
following Tables, in which the acids and bases are united 
according to their affinities ; and the result of the examina- 
tion of a hundred parts of kelp is given, comprehending both 
soluble and insoluble matter : — 

















ulphate of potash, . 





. . . 


. .. 

. . . 

ulphate of soda, 





ulphate of magnesia, 








ulphate of lime, 






ulphite of soda, 





[yposulphite of soda, 




ulphuret of sodium, 



. . . 

. • . 


. . . 

•• • 

hosphate of soda, . 







ar Donate of soda, . 






hloride of potassium, 




ihloride of sodium, 
hloride of calcium, 













i ojn.1 

)dide of magnesium, 


. .. 


• . . 


romide of magnesi um, 







Table of Per-Centage Composition of Orkney Kelp. 

Insoluble Salts. 

Carbonate of lime, . . . 2*591 

Phosphate of lime, . . . 10*556 

Oxysulphuret of calcium, . 1*093 

Silicate of lime, . . . 3*824 

Carbonate of magnesia, . . 6*554 

Sand, 1*575 

2(U On the Colours of a Jet of Steam. 

Alumina -142 

Carbon -920 "^ " 

Hvdi-own 5i '^ bo " lr li#* 8«otooiI ortt Ho 

Nitrojren 1452 ,lI S hc ' 8£W V s6 

° ' usrtqu w< ' ' , 658 Itgni 

yg en » I-rf „j ^ 9l jj • . • 29 . 2O 0ibni 

Sulphate of potash . 4-527 

Sulphate of soda,'*™ . If.* 9 3600 

Sulphate of lime . . **"* -279 

Sulphate of magnesia, ji I° r e ' J ™ '924 

Sulphate of soda, . ' *[§' ,; ? A { ^Ss™ fcwortnom 

Hyposulphite of soda, Ju ? ' *A™*i&JjgJrin<* 

Sulphuret of sodium, . . 1-651 

Phosphate of soda, . . »?> < -540° l li ? 

Carbonate of soda . K - *??« 5-306 

Chloride of potassium, '"'f . 1 ** 26-491 *'"° ! 

' ',7 Chloride of sodium, r ° J . ,I " aiH . lfc "19-334 

m i -j x* i • '31017 xiiiw snitan-jaija jaea ii .boxixist 

Chloride of calcium, y r .. ° -229 

Iodide of magnesium, > L -316 

^ il d -j r • ™ w 'itfoloo aiffi • iiroloo ni 9*onj5To 

Bromide of magnesium, . . trace. 

Water .(SGI) 6<800 offo-x exfo e^if 

M 1 ^inaasiq exit §aiJatfjfwj b a& t xio-bn o 8fJ$ft<ftI 
yJxioxiixiioo bxxs <oaIc ; te^ neeig irfghd js omb js te torxxo m a -xol r 

ovcd I tad* siu'a foa rxus I atax* bejooftei sxfo rxl ."'I QO-209 J * 
ho tthmitsniedT .oafd bxic Joloxv t bo'i-o^nmo aaili yioifigfrrfU ync 


Ow- the Colours of a Jet of Steam. 

Professor J. D. Forbes, some years ago, observed that a jet of 
steam absorbed the more refrangible portion of white light.* It 
happened, during some experiments, that a blue jet of steam caught 
my attention, and further experiments soon assured me that it was 
easy to obtain a jet of almost any colour. 

A blowpipe jet was screwed on a T-piece, and the opposite open- 
ing of the T-piece was supplied with a stopcock, while the third 
opening of the T-piece communicated, by means of a tube, with the 
cock of the boiler. The blowpipe jet had an orifice about T §g-ths of 
an inch diameter, and its axis was elevated about 28° above the 
horizon. The stopcock on the T-piece was furnished with a little 
contrivance for preventing the steam that it discharged from inter- 
fering with the appearance of the steam discharged by the blowpipe 
jet ; the use of this stopcock was to blow off the water which con- 
densed in the steam passages. A pressure was maintained in the 
boiler of about 40 lbs. on the inch. 

On fully opening the cock of the boiler a jet of steam was obtained 

* Philosophical Magazine, 8. 3, vol. xiv.. p. 121, 

On the Colours of a Jet of Steam. 265 

which appeared blue in nearly every position in which it could be 
viewed. Looking end-on from below, the steam jet caused that part 
of the heavens obscured by it to appear feebly orange coloured. The 
day was bright, but the sky at this quarter was overcast. On look- 
ing through the jet of steam from below upwards, but in a direction 
inclined about 11° to the axis of the jet, in which position a portion 
only of the steam-cloud could be viewed by the direct light of the 
clouds, the remaining portion being sheltered by the side of the win- 
dow, one part of the jet appeared orange red, namely, that part 
which transmitted the direct light of the clouds, while the other por- 
tion was blue. The blueness of the jet increased with the above- 
mentioned angle until the angle was perhaps 30°, after which the 
blueness somewhat diminished, but was far from being extinguished 
at 90°. 

By partly closing the cock of the boiler, and so discharging steam 
from the jet of, perhaps, not a higher pressure than 10 lb. on the 
inch, I could obtain a jet of steam, which, looking end from below, 
was blue. It was rather difficult to obtain this blue jet, and when ob- 
tained, it kept alternating with violet. On now viewing this blue jet 
under an angle as before (192) of about 20°, it appeared reddish- 
orange in colour ; this colour was not visible at almost any angle, 
like the reflected blue (192). 

Looking end-on, and adjusting the pressure, I have occasionally 
seen for a moment at a time a bright green jet ; also, and commonly 
a blue-purple. In the reflected tints I am not sure that I have seen 
any thing more than orange-red, violet, and blue. The transmitted 
colour appeared in my experiments more intense than the reflected 
tints. This, perhaps, has its explanation in the fact, that when 
looking end-on, the eye receives light which has shone through a 
columnar arrangement, whose length is much greater than its diameter, 
while the reflected lights would only be seen by looking on the con- 
vex surface of the columnar stream of particles. 

Prof. Forbes, after discovering the red colour of a jet of steam by 
transmitted light, connected the red colour of the clouds with this 
fact ; and the truth of this connection is beyond dispute. So far, 
however, as I have been able to go the colours of the steam jet are 
manifestly only instances of ordinary interference, greatly resem- 
bling that produced by thin transparent plates ; the transmitted ray 
being always complementary to the reflected. Thus in 192 the trans- 
mitted light is red, as in Prof. Forbes's experiments, but the reflected 
light is blue. It is therefore to be inferred that all the colours of 
the clouds originate in interference caused by minute drops of water, 
the size of which determines their colour ; while the blue jet (192) 
is, I think, strfetly analogous to the blue sky * 

* Phil. Mag., Aug. 1852. 

266 Prof. Graham and Hoffmann on the Alleged 

lid orfT illuit 

Report upon the Alleged Adulteration of Pale Ales by 
Strychnine, By Professors Graham and Hoffmann. 


Having undertaken, at the request of Mr Allsopp, an in- 
quiry into the purity of bitter beer, with particular reference 
to its alleged adulteration by strychnine, we now submit the 
results which we have obtained upon the subject. 

Strychnine or strychnia, the alleged substitute for the hop, 
is a fine crystallisable substance, extracted from Nux vomica, 
and belonging to the class of vegetable principles termed al- 
kaloids, of which quinine from Peruvian bark, and morphine 
from opium, are the most familiar examples. These sub- 
stances, although susceptible of the most valuable medical 
application in small doses, are, generally speaking, remark- 
able for their energy as poisons, and for the intense bitterness 
of their taste ; two properties which are developed in strych- 
nine in the highest degree. Half a grain of the latter sub- 
stance would poison, and the bitterness of the same minute 
quantity is perceptible in every drop of six or eight gallons 
of water in which it is dissolved. 

It may be stated at once, that the quantity of strychnine, 
which we find necessary to impart to beer the degree of bit- 
terness possessed by pale ales, is for a gallon of beer one 
grain of strychnine, or double the fatal dose. The price of 
strychnine is about sixteen shillings the ounce, which does 
not amount to so much as one penny per grain. Estimating 
the annual production of pale ale in Burton at 200,000 barrels, 
the strychnine required as a bitter would, however, amount 
to 16,448 ounces, and cost £13,158 ; while nobody believes 
that so much as 1000 ounces of strychnine are manufactured 
over the whole world. The bitterness obtained by means of 
strychnine is equal in degree to that of the hop, but very differ- 
ent in kind, and easily distinguished when the two bitters are 
compared. The bitter of the hop is immediate in its action 
upon the palate, is accompanied by a fragrant aroma, and 
soon passes off; whilst that of strychnine is # not so instan- 
taneous ; but when the impression is once made it is more 
lasting, and becomes, from its persistence, like that of a me- 

Adulteration of Pale Ales by Strychnine. 267 

tallic salt. The bitter of strychnine is, indeed, easily distin- 
guishable from that of the hop, when deliberately tasted. 

Still it would be highly desirable to be able to identify 
strychnine in beer, by the actual extraction of the substance, 
and the application to it of a chemical test of absolute cer- 
tainty. Fortunately those poisons which have the most vio- 
lent action upon the animal economy, possess often also the 
best marked reactions, or their physiological and chemical 
properties are equally salient. Thus, arsenic and hydrocy- 
anic acid are the most easily detected of chemical substances ; 
and strychnine proves to be not far behind them in this re- 
spect. *"* < 3 ™ d naiwhtf « aiai »i> doWw V bi0l t' 

A quantity of strychnine, not exceeding To -Vo tn or> a grain, is 
tested and recognised to be strychnine in the following man- 
ner. The powder is moistened with a single drop of undi- 
luted sulphuric acid, and a small fragment of chromate of 
potash placed in the liquid. A beautiful and most intense 
violet tint immediately appears at the points of contact, and 
is speedily diffused over the whole liquid. Although most 
intense, the colour disappears entirely again in a few minutes. 
The admixture of the smallest quantity of organic matter, 
however, interferes with the success of the process. In order 
to apply the test, in operating upon a complex liquid like beer, 
the strychnine must first be extracted from the liquid and 
obtained in a pure or nearly pure condition. This difficulty, 
which appears at first considerable, may be readily sur- 
mounted, and the strychnine, if it really exist in beer, be se- 
parated, and its nature established in the most certain manner. 

For this purpose, two ounces of ivory black, or animal 
charcoal were shaken in half a gallon of beer, to which half 
a grain of strychnine had been purposely added. After stand- 
ing over night, the liquid was found to be nearly deprived of 
all bitterness ; the strychnine being absorbed by the charcoal. 
The liquid was now passed through a paper filter, upon which 
the charcoal containing the strychnine was collected and 
drained. noqir 

The next step was to separate the strychnine from the 
charcoal. This was readily effected by boiling the mixture 
for half an hour in eight ounces of ordinary spirits of wine, 

208 Prof. Graham and Hoffmann on the Alleged 

avoiding loss of alcohol by evaporation. The spirits which 
now contained the strychnine were next filtered, and after- 
wards submitted to distillation. A watery fluid remained 
behind, holding the strychnine in solution, but not sufficiently 
pure for the test. The final purification was accomplished by 
adding a few drops of potash to the watery fluid, and then 
shaking it with an ounce of ether. A portion of the ethereal 
solution evaporated upon a watch glass, left a whitish solid 
mass of intense bitterness, and this was recognised to be 
strychnine, by giving the violet tint previously described 
upon the application to it of sulphuric acid and chromate of 

Having satisfied ourselves by repeated experiments with 
samples of beer, to which strychnine had been previously 
added, of the never-failing efficiency of the above method of 
extraction, we now proceeded to the actual examination 
of the commercial article. With this object a series of 
samples were taken indiscriminately from the stores of a con- 
siderable number of the London bottlers, whosupply the 
public with Allsopp's pale ale. 

It may be stated that with the exception of five varieties, 
the casks from which these samples were taken had all been 
received in London before the 20th of March, i. e. 9 the period 
when the possible use of strychnine in the manufacture of 
bitter beer was first brought before the English public. 

Not one of these varieties of beer, when tested with the 
greatest scrupulousness, gave the slightest evidence of the- pre- 
sence of strychnine. 

The charge of adulteration of beer by strychnine has been 
proposed in a manner so vague, that it is difficult to fix it, 
and try its validity. The existence of the adulteration is 
not alleged in any particular sample of beer, nor the practice 
ascribed to any individual brewer or dealer. An English 
journalist adopts the charge, upon the report that such an 
opinion is entertained and expressed by a French chemist of 
distinction, M. Payen, in his public lectures at Paris. From 
this gentleman we have since obtained explanations which 
define more closely the kind of charge which was actually 
made by him. The late M. Pelletier, the well-known manu- 

Adulteration of Pale A les by Strychnine. 269 

facturer of organic products in France, had received at one 

time an order for an extraordinary quantity of strychnine, of 

which the destination was at first unknown to him ; but which 

he afterwards learned had been entirely exported to England, 

and used, as he informed M. Payen, to complete the bitter of 

certain kinds of beer. 

We have reason to know, although it is not stated by M- 

Payen, that these remarks of Pelletier refer to a period ten 

or twelve years past ; and further, although not informed of 

the amount of the order, we have got good authority to state 

that fifty or a hundred ounces would have been considered a 

large order for strychnine at that time. The calculation 

already given shews how utterly insignificant such a supply 

of strychnine would be for its imagined application in the pale 

ale breweries. It is likewise known that the manufacture of 

strychnine has not been on the increase in France of late 
yearg si/Ii diiW .eloh umaoo orfi 

' M. Payen excuses his stateme|W#fhe ground that similar 
suspicions are conveyed in a French work " On Adulterations 
and Falsifications," by Chevallier, published nearly a year 
ago ; but which have not hitherto received any formal contra- 
diction in England. Notwithstanding the latter circum- 
stance, our distinguished correspondent concludes by express- 
ing his regret that he ever said " that the fraud appeared to 
have been practised," although he had added the remark at 
the time, " that this falsification had no doubt ceased." 

It thus appears, that the charge which has been put into 
the mouth of M. Payen, was never made at all by that gentle- 
man, so far as it applies to the present practice of English 
brewers, and with reference to anterior times, that the charge 
reposes simply and exclusivly upon the privately expressed 
opinion of a deceased chemist, the grounds of which are en- 
entirely unknown to the world, a.nd must ever remain so. 

In conclusion, it is scarcely necessary to refer to the sifting 
nature of the chemical examination which the beer of Messrs 
Allsopp's manufacture for months past have been subjected 
to, and which establish their incontestible purity. Indeed, no 
one who has witnessed, as we have done, the open manner 
and gigantic scale in which the operations are conducted in 


270 Prof. Graham and Hoffmann on the Alleged 

their establishment, would entertain the idea for a moment 
that any practice involving concealment was possible. But 
even in the absence of all such scrutiny, the idea of strych- 
nine being mixed with beer anywhere, or in any circumstances, 
involves an amount of improbability which might well dispel 
all suspicion on the subject. 

There is an Act of Henry VII., which prohibits the adul- 
teration of ale by brimstone or hops. The place of the hop 
was then supplied by sage, horehound, chamomile, and other 
indigenous bitter plants. Since that period, the character of 
the national beverage must have undergone a silent revolu- 
tion, for all varieties of beer, both pale and brown, now owe 
their distinctive properties to the hops which are boiled in 
the malt infusion, and fermented along with it, as completely 
as wine owes its peculiar character to the grape ; substitute 
any other bitter for the hop, and the fermented wort would 
no longer be recognised as beer. 

Were mere bitters all that is required, it would be easy 
to prove that the extract of quassia would supply a bitter 
which is perfectly harmless and agreeable, and infinitely less 
expensive than strychnine. 

But the process of brewing pale ale is one in which nothing 
but water, the best malt, and hops of the first quality are 
used, and is an operation of the greatest delicacy and care, 
which would be entirely ruined by any tampering with the 
materials employed. Strychnine could not fail to be rejected, 
from the ungrateful metallic character of its bitterness, in- 
dependent of all objections of a more serious kind. This 
peculiarity of taste is also calculated to betray its presence. 
Small, too, as the proportion of strychnine may be, which is 
necessary to impart the degree of bitterness of pale ale, the 
quantity rises, as has been seen, to a poisonous dose in half 
a gallon of the fluid ; and as this poison is one of those which 
are known to accumulate in the system, its poisonous action 
would inevitably follow, in occasional cases, upon the con- 
sumption of much smaller portions of beer when continued 
for many days without intermission. The violent tetanic 
symptoms of poisoning by strychnine are also such as could 
scarcely fail to excite suspicion and alarm. Add to these 

Adulteration of Pale Ales by Strychnine. 271 

disadvantages, the certainty of the means of .detecting 
strychnine in beer by the chemical tests described above, 
which any medical man or practical chemist can apply, and 
the chance of the use of so dangerous a substance for any 
purpose of adulteration, becomes in the last degree impro- 
bable.* J'je'idua oil* no noioiqana He 
-IjjJh ,ifiw ,.IIV ^tnoH 'to ioA 

[The following letter on the alleged adulteration of bitter 
beer, from Professor Liebig to Messrs Allsopp, inserted in 
the Times, will interest our readers.] 

" The unguarded remark of a French chemist, that the 
strychnine imported in England, is employed in part as a 
substitute for hops in the manufacture of beer, has lately 
spread alarm among the lovers of pale ale. Having been 
appealed to by you to express my opinion on this subject, 
which appears to me to be, in a dietetic point of view, one of 
considerable public interest, I now offer the following brief 

" About a quarter of a century ago, a brewer in West- 
phalia fell into the practice of adulterating his beer with Nux 
vomica, from which it iswellknown that strychnine is obtained. 
The peculiar morbid symptoms, however, which resulted from 
the consumption of this adulterated beer, speedily led to the 
detection of the fraud. The effects produced by Nuao vomica 
and strychnine are so characteristic, that every medical man 
will readily detect their origin. The French novelist, Alex- 
andre Dumas, has described them, though with more imagi- 
nation than truth, in his romance of 4 Monte Christo.' It is 
possible that the Westphalian case, which, from being made 
the subject of a criminal trial, obtained great notoriety, has 
given rise to the assumption, that in England the strych- 
nine imported is used for the purpose of mixing with beer. 
But nobody at all acquainted with the great breweries of 
that country could seriously entertain the suspicion of an 
adulteration of beer with strychnine or any deleterious sub- 
stance. It is practically impossible that any operation of a 
doubtful character could be carried out in these extensive 

* Quarterly Journal of the Chemical Society, vol. v., No. 18, p. 173. 

T 2 

^72 Professor Liebic: on the 


establishments, on account of the large number of workmen 
employed in them. Any attempt on the part of the brewer 
to impart to his beer in an illicit manner qualities which are 
not to be obtained from malt or hops, would necessarily lead 
to his ruin ; as he would be obliged to communicate his 
secret to too many persons, and to employ too many accom- 
plices. The draymen themselves, as good connoissieurs in 
beer, would protest against any manipulation of a suspicious 
character. The case has even occurred of an eminent brewer 
not venturing to make use of a method suggested to him, for 
the purpose of clearing his beer more effectually, because 
the addition of a new material to the wort might have in- 
duced a suspicion in the minds of his workmen that it was 
an illicit proceeding, and this would have endangered the 
good reputation which his beer enjoyed. He stated to me at 
the same time that no improvement could be introduced into 
a brewery, the object of which was not perfectly evident to 
every body. 

"During a sojourn of several days atBurton-on-Trent,I had 
an opportunity of becoming intimately acquainted with the 
method pursued in the manufacture of pale ale. I convinced 
myself that the qualities of this excellent beverage depended 
mainly upon the care used in the selection of the best kinds of 
malt and hops, and upon the ingenuity exhibited in conducting 
the processes of mashing and fermenting. Our continental 
brewers have much to learn in these points to come up to the 
English brewers. I have no hesitation in saying, that Eng- 
land possesses the greatest adepts in malting. I know posi- 
tively, that the chief brewers of Munich, who undoubtedly 
produce the best beer in Germany, have gone through an ap- 
prenticeship in Burton. This may account for the predi- 
lection entertained by the general public, as well as by 
medical men, for these varieties of beer ; for the instinct of 
humanity and experience appear to be as good guides in the 
choice of things that contribute to health and enjoyment as 
the profoundest philosophy. 

" Professors Graham and Hoffmann, in the excellent report 
already addressed to you upon the alleged adulteration of the 
pale ale by strychnine, have indicated a very simple process 

Adulteration of Pale Ales by Strychnine. 273 

for detecting the most minute quantity of strychnine con- 
tained in beer. I have satisfied myself of the great con- 
venience and accuracy of their method, and have further 
assured myself, by an analysis of several specimens of pale 
ale obtained from London houses, supplied by your establish- 
ment, of the utter groundlessness of the imputation, that this 
beer was poisoned with strychnine. I am positive, and am 
supported in my views by the concordant analyses of all 
chemists who have occupied themselves with the examina- 
tion of beer, that the poisoning of pale ale with strychnine 
has never occurred. I believe I may safely add, that it 
never will take place ; for although an ignorant brewer 
might be induced from interested motives to add Nuoc 
vomica to his beer, the word strychnine so forcibly suggests 
one of the most virulent poisons, that whoever has heard 
anything about strychnine at all, is sure to be aware of this. 
By adulterating his beer with strychnine, the brewer would 
be knowingly committing a crime which, in the present state 
of science, must be followed by immediate detection and 

" Mr E. Merck of Darmstadt, one of the most extensive 
strychnine manufacturers in Europe, informs me that this 
substance is peculiarly adapted to destroy vermin of all 
kinds. In many parts of Germany it is the popular poison 
for rats and mice. This fact fully accounts for the large 
amount of the drug that has lately been introduced into 

" The specimens of your pale ale sent to me have afforded 
another opportunity of confirming its valuable qualities. I 
am myself an admirer of this beverage, and my own expe- 
rience enables me to recommend it, in accordance with the 
opinion of the most eminent English physicians, as a very 
agreeable and efficient tonic, and as a general beverage both 
for the invalid and the robust. Haw d 

« Justus Liebig." 

« Giessen, May 6, 1852." ■..jrocfowq Qfft 


The New Metal Donarium is Thorlna. 

A few months ago, M. Bergemann discovered an oxide in a 
mineral from Langesundfiord, near Brevig, in Norway, which he 
considered to be new. He gave the name Donarium to the metal, 
and Dr Krantz that of Orangite to the mineral. 

Damour has since examined a specimen of orangite. Its specific 
gravity was 5*19, Bergemann found 5*39. On comparing his ana- 
lysis with that of Bergemann, and also the properties of the sup- 
posed new oxide, M. Damour concludes, that the oxide of donarium 
is nothing less than impure thorina ; Bergemann' s analysis does not 
enumerate oxide of lead and oxide of uranium among the consti- 
tuents. M. Berlin of Lund, has also found that the oxide of dona- 
rium is thorina mixed with minute traces of oxide of uranium, oxide 
of iron, vanadic acid, tin, and perhaps a little molybdic acid. The 
following are the analyses : — 


. 17*52 

Thorina, . . . 71*65 

Lime, . . . . 1*59 

Oxide of Lead, . . 0'88 

Oxide of Uranium, f 5 ., . 1*13 

Oxide of Manganese, )cr 1 3l 0-28 

Peroxide of Iron, . . 0*31 

Magnesia, . . . trace 

Alumina, . . . 0*17 

Potash, . . . 0*14: 

Soda, .... 0*33 
Water with trace of Carb.Acid, 6-14 



Silica, . . . 17-78 

Thorina, . . . 73.29 

Lime, . . . 0'92 

Oxide of Uranium, 

Peroxide of Iron, 

Tin, . 

Vanadium, . t ILs 1 

Water, . fo a( . 7'12 

1 QQ.QQ 


Damour deduces from his analysis the formula 3 Th O + Si O 3 
+ 2HO. Berzelius assumed that thorite consisted of several silicates, 
but principally of a silicate thorina, of the formula 3 Th O + Si O 3 + 
2 H O. Damour is of opinion that Berzelius's analyses do not lead to 
any definite proportion ; but they prove that orangite and thorite are 
identical, and that the metal donarium must be struck from the list 
of simple bodies. Berlin also calculates from his analysis the formula 

3Th0 + Si0 3 + 2H0 

and is likewise of opinion that orangite is only a purer thorite. He 
also draws attention to a peculiar property of thorina. It is stated 
that calcined thorina is insoluble in acids. This is correct as far as 
regards the earth obtained by calcining the hydrate, but not for that 
obtained by igniting the oxalate, which dissolves slowly in hydrochloric 
acid. (Central Blatt, June 23, 1852; and translated in Philoso- 
phical Magazine, vol. iv., No 23, 4th Series, p. 156.) 


. Chemico- Geological Researches on the Sulphurets ivhich are 
Decomposable by Water. By E. Fkemy. 

The object of this paper, says the Comptes liendus for 
July 5, 1852, is to make known the production and principal 
properties of a class of sulphurets, hitherto little examined, 
and the study of which is alike interesting to chemists and 
geologists, from the light which it throws on the formation 
of mineral waters. 

When we consider, says Mr Fremy, the action of water on 
the sulphurets, we find that these compounds may be divided 
into three classes : the first comprises the sulphurets of the 
alkalies and of the alkaline earths which dissolve in water ; the 
second is formed of the insoluble sulphurets ; the third consists 
of the sulphurets of boron, silicon, magnesium, and aluminum, 
which are decomposed by water ; these latter are scarcely 
known, owing to their preparation having hitherto been acom- 
panied with great difficulties. In order to a thorough inves- 
tigation of all the questions which are connected with the de- 
composition of the sulphurets by water, I first sought for a 
method by which they might be easily prepared. This method 
I will now describe. 

It is well known that sulphur exerts no action upon silica, 
boracic acid, magnesia, and alumina. I imagined it might be 
possible to replace the oxygen in these substances by sulphur, 
by the intervention of a second affinity, as that of carbon for 
oxygen. Such decompositions, produced by two affinities, are 
not rare in chemistry ; and in some yet unpublished experi- 
ments on the fluorides, I had observed that the sulphuret of 
carbon completely decomposed the fluoride of calcium mixed 
with silica, producing sulphuret of calcium. I was therefore 
led to presume that the sulphuret of carbon, acting by its 
two elements upon the preceding oxides, would remove the 
oxygen, by means of the carbon which it contains, and would, 
at the same time, form sulphurets ; this supposition I found 
confirmed by experiment. In fact, I have obtained the sul- 
phurets of boron, silicon, magnesium, and aluminum, by sub- 
mitting boracic acid, silica, magnesia, and alumina, to the 

276 7? '(.'searches on Sulphurets Decomposable by Water. 

action of sulphuret of carbon at a high temperature. To 
facilitate the reaction, and remove the sulphuret from the 
decomposing action of the alkalies contained in the porcelain 
tubes, it is sometimes useful to mix the oxides to be re- 
duced with charcoal, and to form them into little balls similar 
to those which are used in the preparation of the chloride of 

T have ascertained by analysis that these sulphurets cor- 
respond to the oxides from which they have been derived. 

I will now say a few words on the sulphurets obtained by 
the above method. The sulphuret of silicon had been ob- 
tained in small quantity by Berzelius in the reaction of sul- 
phur upon silicon, and by M. Pierre in the decomposition of 
chloride of silicon by hydrosulphuric acid. I have obtained 
this substance with the greatest ease, by passing the vapour 
of sulphuret of carbon over pellets of charcoal and gelatinous 
silica, placed in a porcelain tube heated to bright red. The sul- 
phuret of silicon condenses in the tube in beautiful white silky 
needles, which are not very volatile, but are readily carried 
along by the vapour. 

To shew the interest which attaches to the examination of 
this substance, it will suffice to mention here two of its re- 
actions. When sulphuret of silicon is heated in a current of 
moist air, it is decomposed, and furnishes silky crystals of an- 
hydrous silica ; it is evident that we may explain, by means 
of this experiment, the natural production of certain filamen- 
tous crystals of silica. The sulphuret of silicon in the pre- 
sence of water is decomposed with a brisk evolution of hydro- 
sulphuric acid into silica, which remains entirely dissolved in 
the water, and is not deposited until the liquid is evaporated. 
It is impossible not to connect this curious property with 
those natural conditions under which certain mineral waters 
and siliceous incrustations are formed. )il 

As the sulphuret of silicon is probably produced in all 
those cases where silica is submitted to the double action of 
a binary compound which cedes sulphur to it, and at the 
same time appropriates its oxygen, this sulphuret is probably 
not so rare as has been hitherto thought; and, by admitting 
its presence in those rocks in which sulphurous springs occur, 

Analysis of Indian Ores of Manganese. 277 

we might explain the simultaneous existence of silica and 
sulphuretted hydrogen in the principal sulphurous waters. 
This hypothesis is in some measure confirmed by the inte- 
resting observations of M. Descloizeaux, which shew that the 
siliceous springs of the Geysers of Iceland contain a large 
quantity of sulphuretted hydrogen. 

I content myself with submitting these considerations to 
geologists, merely observing that in explaining the formation 
of sulphurous and siliceous waters by the decomposition of 
the sulphuret of silicon, I am only extending the ingenious 
theory proposed by M. Dumas, to explain the formation of 
boracic acid. 

The sulphurets of boron and aluminum were prepared like 
the sulphuret of silicon, and are likewise decomposed by 

The sulphuret of magnesium I obtained by passing sul- 
phuret of carbon over pure magnesia ; in this case the pre- 
sence of charcoal does not appear to be of any use. This 
sulphuret crystallises, and is soluble in cold water. When 
its solution is kept at the ordinary temperature, there is but 
a feeble disengagement of sulphuretted hydrogen ; but when 
heated to ebullition, a lively effervescence of sulphuretted 
hydrogen takes place, and there is an immediate deposition 
of magnesia. 

Analyses of Indian Ores of Manganese, and of some Scot- 
tish Zeolites. By Dr A. J. Scott, H.E.I.C.S. Commu- 
nicated by the Author. 

Among a number of minerals which were kindly sent to 
me by Dr Alexander Hunter of Madras from different loca- 
lities in India, I have examined several during the course of 
last winter in the laboratory of Dr Anderson of Edinburgh, 
and under his immediate superintendence. Those which 
present most interest in a mineralogical point of view are 
two manganese ores found at Vizianagram and Bimlapatam, 
in the northern Circars. It would seem that the former 
occurs in very large quantities. A description of it by Dr 

278 Analysi* of tome Indian Ores of Manganese. 

Hunter has appeared in several of the Madras journals, but 
as no analysis of it has as yet been published, and as it 
belongs to a class of manganese minerals of rather rare 
occurrence, a short notice of it may not be devoid of in- 

It occurs in large irregular masses, some of them described 
to be of several tons weight. I am not acquainted with the 
geological formation in which this mineral is met with, never 
having visited that part of India, but, generally speaking, the 
prevailing rock in the Indian Peninsula, especially of the 
Carnatic, in which many minerals containing iron or man- 
ganese occur, is that which is commonly known by the name 
of " Laterite," a rock peculiar to that country, and of which 
an excellent detailed description has been already published 
by the late Captain Newbold of the Madras army. 

The mineral under consideration presents a highly metallic 
lustre of a bluish -black colour, interspersed here and there 
with dull greyish spots, which latter possess the external 
character of Psilomelan. It breaks with difficulty, and when 
split with a chisel presents an imperfect rhombohedral clea- 
vage. Its specific gravity is 4-50. 

Its powder is of a dark brownish-black colour, which dis- 
solves readily in hydrochloric acid, with the evolution of 
chlorine gas, and on evaporation forms a gelatinous mass of 
a deep yellow colour. Its analysis was performed by dis- 
solving it in hydrochloric acid, evaporating to dryness, and 
heating strongly, in order to render the silicic acid inso- 
luble, and effect its separation. The iron was separated from 
the manganese by succinate of ammonia ; the latter metal 
being then precipitated by hydrosulphuret of ammonia, was 
afterwards redissolvecl and thrown down by carbonate of 
soda, and ultimately reduced to red oxide by subjecting it to 
a strong heat, in which state its weight was ascertained. 
The other ingredients were determined in the usual manner. 
The quantitative constitution of the mineral was found to be 
as follows : — Silicic acid, 8*300 ; peroxide of iron, 12*910 ; 
magnesia, 2*339 ; water, 0*539 ; red oxide of manganese, 
73786 ; oxygen, 1*864 ; total, 99*735. The quantity of me- 
tallic manganese in the above analysis amounts to 53*428 

Analysis of some Indian Ores of Manganese. 279 

per cent., and the total quantity of oxygen combined there- 
with to 22*219 per cent., which corresponds very closely to 
the constitution of sesquioxide, or of a mixture of nearly equal 
quantities of protoxide and peroxide, as shewn by the an- 
nexed calculation. 

ii lo 9flK at 81TJ00O $1 

Mn 53-428) _ Mn O 39050 i.e. Mn 30-2686 + 8-7814 
Q 22-219] "Mn0 2 36*597 i.e. Mn 23'1594 + 13-4376 

75-647 [te9t 75-647 53-428 22-219 

On comparing the composition of this mineral with those 
containing manganese, of which analyses have been already 
published, it is found to agree most nearly with a man- 
ganese ore called Marcellin from St Marcel in Piedmont, 
and which has been investigated by Damour. This observer 
considers the mineral he analysed to be a mixture of Braunite 
and silicate of the protoxide of manganese ; but Rammelsberg 
very properly remarks, that if it possess a distinct crystalline 
form, which it appears to do, it cannot be a mixture, and 
suggests, as more probable, that the crystals may be Braunite, 
and that the analysis has been made with a specimen con- 
taining" impurities. 

The manganese ore from Bimlapatam, a station not far 
distant from Vizianagram, is very similar, if not identical to 
the foregoing in its external and chemical characters^ It 
differs from it, however, to some slight degree, and was 
found to contain lime, which the other does not. Its quan- 
titative analysis gave the following results : — Silicic acid, 
9-09; peroxide of iron, 11*72; lime, 1*244; magnesia, 0*668; 
water, 0*432 ; reel oxide of manganese, 76-177 ; oxygen, 
0*655 ; total, 99*986. The quantity of metallic manganese 
indicated in the above quantity of red oxide would be 54*929, 
that of the oxygen of the same, together with the free oxygen 
added, to 22*558, whereas, in order to constitute sesquioxide^ 
23*904 of oxygen would be required for the same quantity of 
metallic manganese. It would thus appear that the metal 
in this case must be in a lower state of oxidation than in the 
Vizianagram specimen. 

280 Analysis of some Scottish Zeolites. 

Analysis of Scottish Zeolites. 

Pectolite. — The first of the series is a mineral which occurs 
in the Island of Skye at Storr, which, in its external charac- 
ters, bears a considerable resemblance to dysclasite, for which 
I at first took it. It is met with in compact fibrous masses, 
composed of radiated needles, of extremely minute size 
and silky lustre. It is exceedingly tough, and breaks with 
difficulty. Its specific gravity is 2 784. Before the blow- 
pipe it fuses, without intumescence, into a bead, and also 
gives slight indications of the presence of alumina and man- 

On comparing it with an undoubted specimen of dysclasite, 
however, it evidently presents a much higher lustre than that 
mineral possesses, although in other respects there is but 
little or no observable difference in the external appearance 
of the two minerals. It is partially soluble in hydrochloric 
acid, with the aid of heat, viscid flakes of silicic acid being 
separated ; and in this particular it agrees with Von KobelPs 
account of a specimen of pectolite from Monte Baldo, of 
which he has published an analysis. On a qualitative exa- 
mination, it was found to contain silica, lime, soda, alumina, 
and water ; and its quantitative analysis was very simple, 
the results being as follows : — Silicic acid, 52*007 ; alumina, 
1-820; lime, 32-854; magnesia, 0396; soda, 7-670 ; water, 
5058 = 99-805. If we exclude as unessential the small quan- 
tities of alumina and magnesia found in this analysis, the 
oxygen of the silicic acid, lime, soda, and water, is in the 
ratio of 12 : 4 : 1 : 2, and would indicate that the mineral is a 
compound of a neutral silicate of lime, with a basic silicate 
of lime and water, giving for its formula, 

Na O Si 3 + (4 Ca O 3 Si 8 ) + 2 HO. 

The calculated results of this combination are, 

Silicic acid, 4 atoms, 181*2 - 52'6 

Lime, 4 ... 1120 - 32'4 

Soda, 1 ... 313 - 91 

Water, 2 ... 18- 5-9 

342-5 100-0 

Analysh of some Scottish Zeolites. 281 

This calculation presents a very close agreement with the 
experimental results in all the constituents, with the excep- 
tion of the soda, which differs to some extent, but still so 
little as to render it obvious that the above must be its for- 

I have called this mineral Pectolite, because its chemical 
composition and its external character, so far as they can be 
determined by the description given in books, agree very 
closely with those of the mineral described by Von Kobell 
under that name ; but not having seen a specimen of the 
true mineral from Monte Baldo, I cannot pronounce upon it 
with absolute certainty. Analyses of the true pectolite, and 
of another mineral occurring at Royal Island, in Lake Su- 
perior, in North America, have been already published, and 
their results are as follow : — 

Monte Baldo. 

Royal Island. 

Von Kobell. 



Silicic acid, . 51 '30 



Lime, . . . 33-77 



Alumina, . . 090 



Soda, ... 8-26 



Potash, . . 1-57 

Water, . . 389 






These analyses are somewhat conflicting ; but the first, by 
Von Kobell, approximates very nearly to my analysis of 
the Skye mineral. From the former Berzelius has deduced 
the somewhat complicated formula : — 

3(NaOSi0 3 ) + 4(3Ca0 2Si0 3 ) + 3HO 

The calculation of which gives — 

Silicic acid, 11 atoms = 508-442 = 52-603 

Lime, 12 ... = 337*584 = 34-927 

Soda, 3 ... = 93-534 = 9667 

Water, 3 ... =27* = 2793 

which certainly does not agree by any means so well 

282 Analysis of some Scottish Zeolites. 

with the experimental results as the formula I have given 
above. As far as the Royal Island mineral is concerned, 
however, the concordance is anything but satisfactory, 
the quantity of silicic acid being much in excess of that 
contained in either the Monte Baldo or Skye mineral. It 
appears to me that there can be little doubt that the mineral 
I analysed is actually pectolite ; at the same time I should 
not wish to express too decided an opinion on the subject, as 
a late experimenter (Frankenheim) has stated that pectolite 
is an anhydrous mineral, and that the proportion of water 
varies in different specimens, and consequently, in his opinion, 
hygrometric. However this may be, the Skye mineral is cer- 
tainly an hydrated one, according to my analysis, and several 
determinations always shewed the same amount of water. 

The discovery of this mineral in Skye forms an interesting 
addition to the mineral species of Scotland, where it has not 
before been observed.* 

Scolezite.— The next is a mineral which is found in the 
Island of Mull. It occurs in long radiated needles, of great 
beauty and high lustre, contained in greenstone or trap- 
rock, with crystals of epidote disseminated through it. 

It presents the characteristic properties of a zeolite, curl- 
ing up before the blowpipe into a vermicular shape. It is 
completely soluble in hydrochloric acid, and is partially so in 
a solution of oxalic acid, oxalate of lime being precipitated. 
Its external and chemical characters correspond with those 
of scolezite, and its quantitative analysis generally agreeing 
with those of that mineral, as obtained byFuchs and Gehlen : — 
Silicic acid, 46*214 ; alumina, 27 00 ; lime, 13-450 ; water, 
13.7g0_ 100444 

There is a slight excess of alumina, but, with this excep- 
tion, the analysis accords with the formula of scolezite — 

Ca O Si 3 + Al 2 3 , Si 3 + 3 HO, 

its calculated constitution being as follows : — 

* This species occurs, although rarely, in cavities of trap-rocks, on the banks 
of the Clyde. — Edit., N. P. Journal. 

Analysis of some Scottish Zeolites. 283 

Silicic acid, 2 atoms = 92-444 = 4647 

Alumina, 1 ••• = 51-344 = 25*81 

Lime, 1 ... = 28-132 = 14-14 

Water, 3 ••• =27' = 13-58 

198-920 100- 

Several analyses of this mineral have been already pub- 
lished, and are contained in the mineralogical works of Ra- 
melsberg, Von Kobell, and others, on comparing which with 
the results I obtained from the Mull specimen, they will be 
found to agree generally with the whole of them, but most 
closely with those of Giilich and Gibbs of the Iceland variety, 
of Domeyko of the Cachapual specimen, and of Fuchs and 
Gehlen of the mineral from Staffa and Faroe. 

Natrolite. — This mineral was found during the formation 
of a railway tunnel near Bishoptown, Renfrewshire. The 
specimen which I analysed was composed of beautiful needle- 
shaped crystals, about two inches in length, of a pure white 
colour and satiny lustre, interlaced into a felty mass. It 
occurs in juxtaposition with another mineral, which was at 
first supposed to be identical with it, consisting of long ra- 
diated needles, with crystals of calcareous spar disseminated 
here and there through them, and having a great resemblance 
to the scolezite which I had previously analysed. A quanti- 
tative analysis of this mineral has since proved it to be 
Mesolite, or lime and soda mesotype. The three minerals 
in question indeed seem to be isomorphous, and bear such a 
resemblance to one another in their external character as to 
render it exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish 
them from each other, without subjecting them to chemical 

I found the specimen first mentioned to be entirely and 
readily soluble in a solution of oxalic acid, at once proving 
the absence of lime, a distinguishing characteristic of na- 

Its quantitative analysis was as follows: Silicic acid, 47*626 ; 
alumina, 27-170; soda, 15-124; water, 9-780 = 99-700, and 
corresponds with the well-known formula of natrolite. 

Na O Si 3 + Al 2 3 , Si 3 + 2 HO. 

284 Analysis of some Scottish Zeolites. 

On comparing this analysis with those of the mineral al- 
ready published, it will be found to approximate very closely 
to the most of them, and to agree with the calculated com- 
positionof the foregoing formula. 

Silicic acid, 2 atoms, = 92444 = 47'90 

Alumina, 1 „ = 51-344 = 26*60 

Soda, 1 I L 31-178 = 16- 

Water, 2 „ =18- = 922 

Laumonite. — An analysis of Laumonite from Snizort in 
Skye has been already published by Connel ; but that which 
I have examined is from Storr, in which locality it occurs in 
the form of a vein of from two to four inches in thickness 
traversing the trap-rock. It is associated with stilbite, and 
sometimes lies in immediate contact with it, having been 
supposed to be hypostilbite by some persons. Analysis, how- 
ever, proved it to be laumonite, with the characters of which 
mineral it also agrees. ft 6f j ^ n 

soft 1o gtfin no bei'ioqarmiJ eiew aiebluod edi i&dt evsilsu 

10. a'i910fil§ t- HD ^8M 9£li By Connel. °- dw 98 ° rfj ^ 

Silicic acid, 53-048 52*04 : hml tWld 

Alumina, 22*943 2114 i7/ * g9ion ' 

edi • Lime, 9*676 -10' (SB R <t bn& find- 

Water, 14*639 14*92 He von -io xfilnti 

orlq otlt w od woda oS a 

100-306 98^5%>mo3 * 

My analysis varies but slightly from that of Connel, the 
amount of silica and alumina being greater in mine. It may 
be remarked, however, that in his analysis there is a defi- 
ciency of about one-and-a-half per cent. 

The formula which agrees best with the analysis of lau- 
monite is that given by Gerhardt, although at the same time 
it must be admitted, that it is far from being satisfactory. 

3 Ca O 2 Si 3 + 3 (Al 2 (X 2 Si 0.) + 12 HO, 

its calculated constitution being, Silicic acid, 51*53 ; alumina, 
21-49; lime, 11-92; water, 1506; = 100. 

Charles Maclaren, Esq., on the Erratics of the Alps. 285 

On the Erratic Formation of the Bernese Alps, and other 
parts of Switzerland. By Charles Maclaren, Esq., 
F.R.S.E., F.G.S., and Member of the Geological Society 
of France. Communicated by the Author. With Map 
and engraved Illustrations. 

The erratic blocks, or " travelled stones," of Switzerland have 
long afforded matter of speculation to geologists, though they are 
rarely noticed by the crowd of fashionable tourists who ramble over 
its mountains every summer. These blocks are extremely nu- 
merous, and present themselves in singular and unexpected situa- 
tions ; they are often of vast size, in some instances as large as a 
house ; and they are occasionally found at the distance of fifty or a 
hundred miles from the parent rock. The mode of their trans- 
portation constitutes a problem about which volumes have been 
written, and which can scarcely yet be said to have received a sa- 
tisfactory solution. Fifty years ago, the favourite theory was, that 
they had been forced along by currents of water. More recently, 
some have conjectured that they were floated on currents of mud ; 
but at present, geologists may be divided into two categories, those 
who believe that the boulders were transported on rafts of floating 
ice, and tbose who hold that they were conveyed by glaciers of vast 
size, which had at one period covered all the low country. In the 
following notes, which are partly the result of two short tours in 
Switzerland, and partly derived from works written on the subject, 
originality or novelty of view has not been aimed at. My object 
has been to shew how the phenomena present themselves to a tra- 
veller pursuing some of the common routes, and to indicate how the 
facts are explained by the prevalent hypotheses. 

Map I., representing a part of the Bernese Oberland, well known 
to tourists, is copied from the map of Keller. 

T, the east end of the Lake of Thun. 

B, the Lake of Brienz. 

L, the Lake of Lungern, in Unterwalden. 

Br, the Village of Brienz. 

F F, the Faulhorn group of mountains. 

M n, the Village of Meyringen. 

G d, the Village of Grindelwald. 

R, the Pass of the Grimsel, leading from the Valley of Hash to 
the sources of the Rhone (o o) in the Valais. 

r r r , the upper part of the River Aar, which, after a course of 
25 miles in the Valley of Hasli, flows through the Lakes of 
Brienz and Thun, and thence proceeds northward to the Rhine, 
of which it is the largest tributary. 

J WN S V, the principal mass of the Bernese Oberland, comprising 
one of the most extensive groups of snow-clad mountains in the 


2SG Charles Maclaren, Esq., on the 

Alps, such as the Jungfrau (J). Wetterhorn (W),Engelhorn (N), 
Sohneehorn (S), Viescherhorn (V). The south-east portion of 
the map, coloured red, is occupied by crystalline rocks, chiefly 
granite and gneiss. It is bounded by the line I m n. The 
district beyond that line on the north-west consists entirely of 
limestone. This well-marked boundary between the two spe- 
cies of rocks gives us a key to the origin and movements of the 
boulders. All crystalline blocks found in the limestone region 
have evidently been carried to a distance from their original 
site, which was on the south-east side of the line, I m n, or 
perhaps, in some few cases, at a more distant locality. 
We begin our journey at Interlaken. This village, to which mul- 
titudes of English resort every summer, is of small size, but contains 
about a dozen of large hotels, where strangers are boarded and lodged 
at the low charge of five or six francs a head per day. It stands, 
as the name implies, between two lakes, those of Thun and Brienz, 
in a beautiful plain about two miles long and a mile and a half broad. 
It is scarcely possible to imagine a more lovely situation. With its 
trim verdant fields, its numerous orchards, its hedgerow trees, and 
its little pine groves, the plain looks like a patch of rich English 
landscape set down amidst the magnificent scenery of the Alps. 
Mountains of limestone, two thousand feet in height, rising up like 
gigantic walls, overlook and shelter it on the north and south, while 
the picturesque lakes of Thun and Brienz form its western and east- 
ern boundaries. These mountains display great vertical faces of 
bare rock, separated by belts of pine or birch, or plots of fresh green 
herbage, rising one above another, and sometimes the covering of 
wood ascends to the top in dark unbroken masses. The traveller, 
as he rambles through the plain, comes unexpectedly upon hamlets 
and villages, which are hid amongst the trees ; and though built of 
wood, and not over clean, the houses have the snugness and pic- 
turesque appearance common to Swiss cottages. The crowning 
feature of the scene is the Jungfrau, 13,700 feet in height, rising 
over the valley of Lauterbrunnen, and c/ri b ^ifid^do'iq Ite 

cc a • 7 ,7 tft iPladil . a si hi f evodfi 

" Soaring snow-clad through its native skv, 

* od In the wild pomp of mountain majesty." 

-bfi93 sdi 

It is seen from every part of the straggling village, and owing 
probably to the transparency of the atmosphere, looks as if it could 
be reached in half an hour, though it is actually eleven miles dis- 
tant in a direct line. The optical illusion producing these deceptive 
ideas of distance is common in the Alps. 

Shortly after my arrival at Interlaken, wishing to get a view of 
the environs, I climbed to the top of a projecting rock on the north 
side of the river (at a in the map), a little westward of the wooden 
bridge. Here I stumbled upon half a dozen blocks of granite and 
gneiss in a situation where I little expected to find them. The 

Erratics of the Alps. 


limestone rock (L in the small section, figure 1 below) is washed at 
the foot by the Aar (r), which it overhangs, and the surface on which 
the blocks (6) rest is extremely steep. To the upper ones* about 
300 feet above the river, I could only ascend by using both hands 
and feet. Some of them contained one Or two cubic yards of stone, 
and were in situations from which a slight force would precipitate 
them to the bottom. I was agreeably surprised, for I did not ex- 
pect to meet with facts illustrative of the erratic formation so easily. 
The granite blocks came from q, or some place within the boundary 
line I m n — that is, they had travelled twenty miles or more. In 
this simple fact I had presumptive evidence that the agents which 
transported them were not currents of water; for currents strong 
enough to bring them hither would not have left them on a steep 
ledge of rock from which a slight impulse would detach them. 

\&b loq hmA j Fi 1? 2 , 3. ' • wo I ed* $si 
mrm. 1 — r 71 1 

gnol 89 Vim ewM 4 £ nr 


aJi dtiW 
has t 8 


At b in the map, on the south side of the lake, near the village of 
Bonigen, there is a projecting mass of a conical form, which leans 
against the mountain, as if it were an outer portion of the rocks 
above, which, having lost its hold, had slid downward, and in sliding 
downward had been pushed outward. The hollow above it has some 
resemblance to a corry. This semi-cone is 600 or 700 feet in 
height; its base projects perhaps 1000 feet from the side of the 
mountain, and its circumference may be nearly a mile. Three de- 
pressions like terraces, one above another, are seen on its surface, 
which is everywhere covered with clay, earth, or gravel, though there 
is in all probability a nucleus of displaced rock below. Figure 2 
above, is a section of the lowest of the three terraces ; B, the lake of 
Brienz ; L, the limestone of the hill, assumed to be the nucleus of 
the cone ; 6, blocks resting at various heights on its surface. Ascend- 
ing by the east side, I met with a block of granite 3 yards long, 3 
broad, and 1} yards thick, measuring of course about 10 cubic yards, 
and weighing twenty tons. It was resting on the soil, 120 feet 
above the plain, on the side of a declivity dipping at 50° or 60° 
— so steep, indeed, that if it had fallen even from a height of 
3 feet, it would infallibly have slid or rolled to the bottom. It had 
travelled 20 or 30 miles, but the agent which transported it must 
have set it down as cautiously as a nurse deposits a sleeping child in 
its cradle. Its position suggests the idea either that it must have 
been stranded here by floating ice, or that it and the soil under it 


288 Charted '.vlaelaren, Esq., on the 

firmed part of the lateral moraine ui' a glacier, which was then sub- 
siding under the effect of partial fusion.* The highest hlocks I saw 
here were about 200 or 250 feet above the plain and the Jake, but 
I have no doubt that there were others at a greater elevation. The 
upper ground was pretty carefully fenced, and I did not choose to 
become a trespasser. 

A bank of loose materials extends from the west side of this cone 
along the foot of the mountain nearly to the opening of the valley of 
Lutehen at d in the map. It is from 50 to 200 feet in height and 
half a mile in length. The breaches made in it by transitory tor- 
rents rushing down from the hills above, shew that it is composed of 
gravel and sand or clay, and many erratics of granite or other crys- 
talline rocks are lying on the surface. Figure 3 represents one 
of these, b, which is 12 feet high, 10 feet long, and 10 broad, and 
must weigh 50 or CO tons. It stands on the edge of a very steep 
declivity of soil 80 feet in height, X. This long bank of sand and 
gravel with the boulders resting on it, is apparently an ancient mo- 
raine. While I was sketching the shape and position of the block, a 
man of rather uncouth appearance, with a large rusty sword at his 
side, came up. I attempted to get into conversation with him, but 
in vain. He knew no French, and I was deficient in colloquial Ger- 
man. I was only able to make out that he was a policeman ; and 
when I pointed to " der gross stein,'' and manifested curiosity about 
its history, his reply was " icebergF — icebergs. " The popular opinion 
here {if the policeman may be taken as its expositor) seems to be 
that the travelled stones were transported by floating ice. 

Blocks of granite and gneiss are rare in the plain at Interlaken 
and elsewhere in Switzerland, but they may have existed formerly. 
They are the best building stone of the country, and their disappear- 
ance is supposed to be accounted for by the use made of them in the 
construction of bridges and other substantial works. The Swiss cot- 


tages are of wood with a foundation of stone a foot or two in height, 
for which any sort of rock suffices. 

A small steamer carries the traveller to Tracht (/), near Brienz 
(Br in the map), at the east end of the lake. A sharp ridge of lime- 
imrflua aj'r no ! .oi odj no hoT 

* Fragments of the rocks flanking a glacier valley, detatched by frost or 
avalanches of snow, fall down and collect on the two sides of the glacier, and 
are carried slowly downward with the ice. These aro called " lateral mo- 
raines." In a compound glacier formed by the union of two tributary glaciers, 
the two inner lateral moraines unite and constitute a third longitudinal row of 
fragments jvstingon the middle, which is called a "medial moraine." One formed 
of three or four tributary glaciers has two or three medial moraines. .And if such 
a glacier has its breadth much contracted in passing through a narrow gorge, 
the lateral and medial moraines are generally blended, and spread over the 
whole surface. These fragments, arriving at the lower end of the glacier, fall 
over and collect in front of it, and are called its " terminal moraine." When 
a glacier recedes it generally has several terminal moraines, one behind another, 
in the form of ridges of blocks with clay and saud. 

.Erratics of the A lps. 


stone rises here to the height of 200 or 250 feet behind the Croix 
Blanche Hotel, and exceeds a furlong in length. :f} & fa lb b na ^^ 
tad t 9ijsl edt 5hb airiq eth evods teoi 06S io 002 taoda 9-i9w tried 
9fIT .noikvolo 19^9'it) ^ i& g$M%oh-faw 9'ioxlj i&fo iduob on ovjsH I 

TrrrrrrnTJTTTTTTtrTTTTTTT n ~ — h-kw b nuo-i-g i9qqu 

3J3q8DlJ B 9moo9d 
ol |o dn&d A 
ol 9fli gaols 

9H0D airi j lo 
"Jo y^oIJjsv 9ifr 
has ifl-oioil ni 
-ioJ v/io^ianx 

1o b9aoqrnoo ^i Jr 

-av^o i9fh 

9no ajnags'iqsi 8 o- 


#li f ii3 fl9lfotaJ 

.fbgnH^i 9lim £ li&d 

d , 8[Iirf*9fl/mo'il nwoh ^niifain ain9*i 

o ^fljjfft baa t^nlo f io bah a has lev^i^ 

ewstaua edJ no gnivj o'ifi aiooi enilLsi 

Figure 4 is a view of this ridge from the lake, e its east, and g its 
west end. The dots at a and under // and g are travelled blocks 
resting on the top and sides ; h is the hotel, and t a mimic wooden 
temple. Figure 5 is a section across the ridge. L, the foot of the 
limestone mountain, which rises to the height of 2000 feet ; R, the 
ridge ; a and 6, boulders of granite or gneiss resting on the steep ac- 
clivities or the top; A, the position of the hotel ; and B, the lake of 
Brienz. The boulders are of all sizes up to three yards in length, 
and the larger ones have their angles quite sharp. One of eight 
feet in length at a on the south side, rests on a surface so highly m? 
dined, that if, when lodged here, it had been dropped from a height 
of two or three feet, it would certainly have descended to the bottom 
of the precipice. Many small blocks of granite may be seen built 
into a wall below b. They are generally rounded, and some of them 
were perhaps brought from the top or upper part. The west end of 
the ridge g is the broader, and is covered with soil as well as boulders ; 
at the east end (e) the bare rock projects, and there is little soil and no 
boulders. It is the phenomenon of " Crag and Tail," so well known 
in Scotland, the crag appropriately facing the point from which the 
moving agent came. Agassiz informs us that when a projecting rock 
rises through a glacier and reaches its surface, or stands out a little 
above it, some of the large stones which strew the top of the glacier 
are stranded on the rock, and remain perched on its summit (restent 
perches sur la pointe de rocher), or are deposited on its shelving 
sides, forming a ring or coronet round the summit. It will be seen 
how well this applies to the present case. Evidently no physical 
agent is so admirably adapted for placing boulders in these singular 
positions as a glacier. Gliding onwards in its irresistible course, 
with a motion so slow as to be inappreciable by the senses (one or 
two feet per day), the delicacy and steadiness of its pressure must be 
extreme. It is only by such an agent that we can conceive a mass 
of rock, weighing ten or twenty tons, to be lodged on a point or de- 
clivity, where it is so nicely balanced that the force of a man's hand 
would send it rolling to the bottom. It acts with the same delicacy 

290 Charles Maclaren, Esq., oa the 

in withdrawing as in applying its pressure. When the mild weather 
comes, the surface of the ice melts and evaporates, film by film, and 
the glacier subsiding at the rate of one or two inches per day (as 
shewn by Mr Charles Martins, in his researches on the Faulhorn 
glacier), withdraws its support, as it were, by grains or scruples, in 
a manner which even the most cautious hand could scarcely imitate. 
It is plain that a mass of floating ice loaded with stones could not 
act with the same nicety. Drifted, as it would be, by winds, tides, or 
currents, it would encounter fixed objects with a shock which might 
break it in pieces, and throw the stones it bore violently to the bot- 
tom. Cr supposing an ice-floe, with a boulder resting on or frozen 
into it, to be stranded on a projecting rock like R, the boulder woufd 
not be deposited till it lost its hold by the partial fusion of the ice, 
and then its fall would be sudden and violent. I have enlarged on 
this point, because the two agents, floating-ice and glacier-ice, which 
have been called in hypothetically to explain the Erratic phenomena, 
have much in common in their mode of acting, and it is difficult to 
find characteristic facts to distinguish the agency of the one from that 
of the other. (See Charpentier, Essai, sect. 51.) 

Opposite to Brienz, on the south side of the lake, is the Giess- 
bach (g in the map), a famous waterfall which all travellers visit. It 
is a succession of cascades or cataracts, by which a large volume of 
water descends along a steep acclivity from a great height. It has 
cut a channel in the side of the mountain from 50 to 150 feet in 
depth, and to add to its picturesque beauty the thunders of the 
nearer cascades, blended with the echoes of the more distant ones, 
roll on the ear amidst a little forest of pines. I clambered up the 
acclivity to the height of about 300 feet, and found straggling 
blocks of granite, gneiss, or mica slate, as far as I ascended, either 
in the bed or on the sides of the torrent. Some of them were masses 
of six or eight cubic yards, and I noticed one about forty feet above 
the lake, whose situation, on the verge of a little precipice, again 
suggested the inquiry, what agency could bring it there without pre- 
cipitating it into the water ? Erratic blocks undoubtedly exist at 
many other points on the shores of the lake. Those mentioned fell 
in my way when I was merely visiting the localities usually visited 
by travellers. 

In the preceding cases I had met with crystalline boulders at no 
greater elevation than 300 feet. My next excursion was to the 
mountain of Abendberg (c in the map), about two miles south-west 
from Interlaken. Dr Guggenbuhl, a benevolent German, has an 
establishment for cretins on this hill at the height of 1800 feet 
above the plain. In the ascent to it I found the boulders up to an 
elevation of 700 or 800 feet, beyond which the surface is so very 
steep that large ones could scarcely rest on it. I saw two blocks of 
gneiss or mica slate, the one four yards long, the other fivo, which 
IukI porli.'ips been origimilly uniled, ;m<l must then have constituted 

Erratics of the Alps. 291 

a mass of fifteen cubic yards. The blocks were generally angular, 
but some were rounded,,,™™ htm o+fom an'r *rU % n a 

■■; .->■ 

Rather more than a mile south-east from this locality, there is a 
great deposit of alluvial matter in the valley of Lutchen at d. The 
valley is less than half a mile in width, and is bounded by pre- 
cipices of limestone rock, nearly vertical, and 1,000 feet in height. 
The river runs along the west side of the valley, sometimes close to 
the rock, and the deposit is on the east side. The figure below is a 

SeCtiOrMsifTy, jfoo/f? R rf + f w QWfffn fia-srft fa+rrrrnorra FJrimu -Tr o+nr^.r„„ 
e " v " u ™ -a^wiia «*> ujivf cjjyjuu iJJX.ll ItmUJOJlItJ JUlJJOw JI f dJU91lJJ0 

tod edi oJ ^IjqQloiv eiod Si BQ[Mg-M woidi bn& ,8eooiq niiileend 

riasoit 10 no pmjgei lobluod fi rttiw <9ott-ooi nu grriBoqqua iU ~m&$ 
b 'uow rebliwfr&ckgfl ojJil isr»*i snboajg^^j^ b gfen-iRij g ad oj t *i ^/r ii 

r r' A sloping line, representing the bed of the river, which rises 
gradually to the south. ;■ c-J YlLRoitedfoq'/d ni bollco n99d evfid 

m, n, o, p. The alluvial deposit, consisting of sand, gravel, and 
boulders, extending nearly a mile along the valley. Its interior has 
been laid bare by the stream, which, having cut a channel through 
it very near the western wall of the valley, has everywhere a talus 
of debris on its eastern bank. The height of the mass of debris, if 
taken a little behind the top of the talus, may be about 200 feet at 
m, 100 at o, and 50 at n, but it is three times greater near the 
eastern wall of the valley, and the mean depth of the whole mass 
from m top will exceed 200 feet. A great proportion of the mate- 
rials is composed of the debris and detritus of the adjacent lime- 
stone, but blocks of granite gneiss and mica slate, many of them 
measuring from 10 to 30 cubic yards, are distributed through it, 
and rest on the surface in thousands. Now these blocks must have 
travelled along the valley of the White Lutchen from Z, or that of the 
Black Lutchen from m, a distance of ten or twelve miles. The 
origin of this mass is not difficult to explain. Its form and compo- 
sition indicate that it consists of a series of terminal moraines, left 
at the end of the glacial period, by the glaciers of the Lutchen Val- 
leys, during their gradual retreat from the low country to the re- 
mote recesses in the mountains which they now occupy. Much of 
the west side has no doubt been swept away by the river before it 
had excavated its present channel. .. 9f [j n j 

The reader must now accompany me to the little lake of Lungern 
(L in the map), north-east from Brienz. .Setting out with my com- 
panion from Lucerne — a little town in a romantic situation, and com- 
manding an unrivalled landscape— we proceeded by boat and carriage 
to Alpnach and Sarnen, and from Sarnen to the lake of Lungern. At 
this little wild lake we got on horseback, and crossed the Pass of the 
Brunig (A) by a breakneck road to Meyringen (Mw) in the valley of 
Hash. The summit of the Pass is 1600 English feet above the lake 
of Lungern, and 1740 above the valley of Hash. This is the lowest 


Charles Maclaren, Esq.. on the 

point in the crest of the ridge, which rises elsewhere to an elevation 
of nearly 3000 feet. Boulders of crystalline rock were thinly 
strewed all along the valleys of Sarnen and Lungern, up to the 
summit of the Pass. Having crossed it, we found them stili more 
numerous on the south side of the crest, and of larger size (some, 
for instance, from 10 to 20 feet in length, and generally angular), 
affording evidence that the stream of blocks proceeded from south 
to north. The water, ice, or whatever carried the blocks and poured 
them into the valley of Lungern, must therefore have filled the val- 
ley of Hash to a height little short of 2000 feet. 

On the opposite side of the valley of Hash (at k in the map), a 
large stream, coming from the south-west, pours over the limestone 
ridge, and constitutes the celebrated waterfall of the Reichenbach. 
Here also, on the verge of the precipice, the gneiss and granite 
blocks abound, d msgnuJ 

boow riliw be-xadteoi baa ( iimrl pa aniainuom erlT .y^iusetf SfidTg 
>ybj;rg baa 89voi§ ni bnuodjs ieidfiviIo9b lierb olidw ,8*imnnja liodi 
ten baiteviJiuD w9t a o'ifi nwoh lewoi bittt .flsajijg iaedaml 9ffo 

.aJyLfido e ab 
9^9 odJ bi 

th <g 

in9D3B 9dJ 
9W 910 r l9d 
-JJfi9d 9dJ 


Tidi&i^nliooi ni 

oM baa igiJI 9di 1o 
/IbI od* 9vodfi teo'l 01 

t9W 3BW <8JJ 

tuft .ah 

baa <89gfilliv 

no ataoi 

i <08£& gniah 

l&b odT ,teo\ 

•giau'iQ eAi lo 

ua 9dj b9d0fi91 

^eilvsv lulii 

w orfo moil 

L L, 

edJ bat 

The above figure is a section across the valley of Hash, 
the limestone mountains on the two sides of the valley ; R, the crest 
of the Brunig Pass ; b, blocks on the north side of the Pass, form- 
ing part of a straggling line which extends to the lake of the Four 
Cantons, fifteen miles distant ; 6', Blocks on the south side of the 
Pass, which are more numerous and rflore closely grouped ; k, the 
opposite or south wall of the valley, at the point where the channel 
of the Reichenbach stream crosses it ; b", numerous boulders of crys- 
talline rock, lying on the declivity up to the very brow. My impres- 
sion is that the height of the rocks at k is about the same with those 
at R, but I have no ascertained measurement to rely on. While R, 
however, is the top of a narrow ridge, k is the lower end of a decli- 
vity which extends south-west five miles to the Scheideck Pass (p in 
the map), where it attains an elevation of 4400 feet above the val- 
ley of Hasli at Meyringen. Now, when I state that over all the 
live miles primary boulders occur, it must not be concluded that they 
came from the upper part of the valley of Hash. They travelled by 
a different route. The two glaciers of Grindelwald giving birth to 
the two rivulets at W in the map, and the glacier of Rosenlaui at 
N, have their termination in the limestone ridge W N, but that 
ridge is narrow, and these glaciers have their origin in an extensive 

Erratic* of the A lps. 293 

formation of gneiss behind it. We learn this from the map of M. 
Desor, the fellow-traveller of Agassiz, in his " Nouvelles Excursions 
et Sejours dans les Glaciers, 1845/' These glaciers, or rather the 
much larger ones which occupied their places at some remote period, 
must have been the agents which carried the primary boulders across 
the limestone ridge, and distributed them over a great part of the 
space from the Wengern Alp, x, to a point near k. On the east 
side of the lower glacier of Grindelwald, 100 yards from the ice, 
I found a block of gneiss measuring 35 feet by 20, and 12 in thick- 
ness, containing 300 cubic yards, and weighing 600 tons. It was 
most delicately poised on a steep declivity of soil, 800 feet above 
the rivulet, and well exemplified how nicely the glacier regulates its 
force in depositing the load it bears on its banks. There were others 
near it. *§ 9fft ,aoiqiosiq di no <oal£ si&rl. 

The valley extending from Alpnach to Lungern has features of 
great beauty. The mountains are high, and feathered with wood to 
their summits, while their declivities abound in groves and glades of 
the freshest green, and lower down are a few cultivated fields, chalets, 
villages, and the two sweet lakes. In looking northward the eye 
rests on the giant forms of the Bigi and Mount Pilatus, the one 
rising 4480, the other 5570 feet above the lake which bathes their 
feet. The day, unluckily for us, was wet, and we began the ascent 
of the Brunig in a heavy rain. But it abated greatly before we 
reached the summit, and we anticipated a delightful view of the beau- 
tiful valley of Hasli, and the mountains beyond it. When we emerged 
from the wood, however, and looked southward, the valley and the 
mountains had disappeared, and there was nothing before us but a 
vast expanse of snow-white clouds, above which we stood " like ship- 
wrecked mariners on desert coast." Such a scene has a touch of 
the sublime. There is a mystical charm in the feeling of intense 
loneliness suddenly awakened in the traveller's mind when an image 
of chaos is thus conjured up afround him, akin to what Noah may 
have felt in the ark when casting his eye over the boundless waste of 
waters ; and the illusion is the greater if the traveller is in a strange 
country. But our chaos was not of long duration. In a little while 
the Ollchihorn reared its head right in front of us, and was followed 
by other (i horns" and peaks, rising slowly from the ocean of cloud, 
like rocks and castles emerging from the canvas in dissolving views, 
till we had before us an archipelago of islands. After the mass of 
vapour rolled away from the mountain tops, it settled on the two sides 
of the great valley of Hasli (the bottom of which we had now 
reached) leaving the middle clear. Here it clung to the rocks like a 
festooned curtain, affording us, through rents and openings in its 
upper parts, many delicious little fairy landscapes, pine woods, pre- 
cipices, waterfalls, bright green lawns, all placed in a setting of white 
cloud, and suspended high over our heads, as if belonging to an 
upper world. The scenery of the Alps has many phases, and those 

294 Charles Maclaren, Esq., on the 

who have not seen them in shower as well as sunshine, lose one-half 
of their grandeur and beauty. 

Figure 7 above, conveys an idea of the usual form of the lower 
valley of Ilasli (Nieder Hasli) in cross section. The bottom, about 
three-fourths of a mile in breadth, is level, or a little raised in the 
middle, and entirely composed of water-worn gravel or sand, g r. 
At one or both sides there is generally a vertical precipice of lime- 
stone, one, two, or three hundred feet high, with a talus of debris at 
its foot, the wrecks probably of a lateral moraine. On the top of the 
vertical precipice at 1, is generally a sloping shelf covered with 
bright green herbage or shrubs. Behind this is a second precipice, 
also vertical or nearly so, and crowned with a second grass plot, 2. 
Above this is a third, and even fourth precipice, but the upper rocky 
surfaces slope backward more rapidly. By such steps the wall of the 
valley rises to a height of 2000 or even 3000 feet, with patches of 
grass occurring at intervals, up to the line of perpetual snow. We 
saw no heather in the Alps. 

At the sites a, b, Br, and g in the map, the travelled blocks were 
met with only 200 or 300 feet above the bottom of the valley, but 
if I had been able to search the ground high above, there is little 
doubt that I would have found them at as great an elevation as at 
h or k — that is, 1700 or 1800 feet. Nor is this the extreme height 
they have attained. 

A little above Meyringen the valley of the Aar is barred by a ridge 
of limestone of considerable height, through which the river has cut 
a very narrow channel. The top of this ridge is much smoothed, 
and at one place very distinctly striated. A considerable number of 
granite and gneiss boulders were resting on the top, the large ones 
generally angular, the small ones rounded, but on the south face of 
the ridge which looks up the valley they were lying in hundreds. 
Granite has a great economic value in Switzerland, and many of 
these blocks, I was told, were carried^to Berne some years ago, a 
distance of fifty miles, to serve as building materials for the new 
bridge. But, independently of the boulders, the ridge itself is a 
curious object. It is nearly a mile in length, measured along the 
valley, and 500 feet in height; and being apparently of the same 
rock with that which bounds the valley above and below, the question 
suggests itself how the agent, whatever it was, which scooped out the 
rest of the channel to so great a depth, and gave it a slope of such 
unbroken uniformity (of probably 1 foot in 200 or 300), should have 
suspended its work here, and left this mound of rock in its place ? It 
seems probable that the two lateral valleys y and z, which join the 
main valley here, had some connection with the existence of the mound 
in question. If each of these had its glacier, the two lateral glaciers 
must have modified the action of the principal one. They might ob- 
struct its downward march, by pushing forward masses of debris, 
or they might raise a solid barrier of ice like that which shut the 

->A\ Erratics of the A Ips. 295 

valley of Bagnes in 1818, in the form of a dike, 500 feet high. 
(Agassiz, Etudes, p. 156.) In either case, the glacier of the Aar 
would be be arrested in its downward course, or else compelled to 
mount above and override the barrier, and in this way the rock im- 
mediately behind the barrier would be protected from a large share 
of the denudation the parts of the valley above and below must have 
undergone. If this view be adopted, the Kirchet may be considered 
as a portion of a more ancient bottom of the valley, and it may 
be inferred that the deeper channel on both sides of it, which de- 
scends nearly 500 feet lower, has been excavated by the glacier of 
the Aar. *> 98 & 8l 8*"* bnid92 ..gdmrla 10 hd 

In the annexed figure the heavy line Mg. Bjitiei' oal& 

a be, is a cross section of the valley of I 'iiili £ %i siiij Qio6h 
Hash, either above or below the Kirchet ; 
d f e, the Kirchet, stretching across the 
valley, whose section at this point is a d 
fee; and f is the fissure, narrow and 
sinuous, in which the river Aar now flows 

This fissure, undoubtedly cut by the river itself, indicates both the 
mode and the extent of its excavating power, and in contrast with 
it the larger opening a b c, shews the vastly greater power of the 
ancient agent — the glacier. 

The Kirchet is the boundary between the upper and lower valleys 
of Hasli (Ober and Nieder Hasli.) About two miles above it there 
is an ancient terminal moraine, consisting of vast piles of boulders 
chiefly of granite and gneiss, mixed with soil, and probably 200 feet 
in height. It had formed a bank across the valley, but a deep pas- 
sage has been cut through it by the river. A little beyond this, the 
limestone is succeeded by gneiss and mica slate, and about two miles 
farther up at Guttanen, the gneiss is succeeded by granite, which 
continues to the Grimsel, a distance of eight miles. {Studer, Geologie 
der Schweiz, p. 178),* From the point where the crystalline rocks 
commence the valley contracts, the flat bottom, so striking a feature 
lower down, disappears, the ascent becomes much more rapid, the 
road perilous, and the scenery wild. Striated and grooved rocks, so 
rare in the limestone district, are now seen everywhere. The 
" hospice," or hotel of the Grimsel (at R in the map), stands amidst 
savage rocks, at an elevation of 6158 feet above the sea, and close to 
the Pass which connects the valley of Hasli with that of the Rhone, 

q aJi as afooi jo bnuotn aidifr jfol bus ^iml d/iuw bJi b^ba^ua 

* The first volume of the Geologie der Schweiz was published in 1851, in 12mo, 
with a small map of the Alps and Northern Appenines. The second, which will 
complete the work, is expected to appear before the end of the present year, 
and will be accompanied by a map on a larger scale, carefully coloured. A 
Manual of the Geology of Switzerland from the hands of the eminent Bernese 
Professor, will be regarded as a great acquisition by all who cultivate the 


Charles Maclaren, Esq., on the 

o o. In this dismal and desolate region, with much snow still on the 
ground (24th July), we had comfortable meals, served up by the 
landlord's daughters, three respectable young women, with the ap- 
pearance and manners of ladies. Our fellow-lodgers numbered about 
forty, and though the building seems low and small, and is as rude 
as the scene around it, the whole were supplied with beds. It is 
wonderful how much is done for the traveller's comfort in Switzer- 
land. As a specimen of the climate, Mr Martins informs us that in 
the six months from November 1845 to April 1846, no less than 
fifty feet of snow (fifty-three feet English), equivalent to fifty-five 
inches of water, fell at the Grimsel. 

The head of the valley of ITasli is about three miles west of the 
hotel. Here I found the mighty agent whose operations I had traced 
over a line of forty miles, still at work, though sadly shrunk from 
what must have been his pristine dimensions. The large glacier of 
the Unter-Aar was before us, and the figure below is a front view of 
its lower end, taken from- the left side, and foreshortened in the hori- 
zontal direction. 

gji oi t ioiofirg 
eii to $ntoa 
eilJ ta noia \ 
eSeioisrg exfa 

eil rfoiilw I 
aevooTg bix 

t bn£ f vrivik>ob aiti wvuqu ' *hJL)"lJ o - ifc 

L \ oj & men 
; ? V>ni£iorn Iflioihsqua " oil* gmi9* i9bnoq'i£rfO tadw 
odJ lo tagrnsvofS^^eao'igoiq wola 9fli ^d ^leiBrnhlu 

w e bn9 i9woi 
IIbo qi& f too1 

JQiq bfI9 19W0i 

bI§ edT 
ro Ji wofed 
ni dooi edi 

fins aodota 

G G, the two walls or sides of the valley, formed of grey granite 
which rise abruptly to a height of 1000 or 1500 feet, at an angle 
of 50° or 60°. 

d d\ The top, as seen from below, covered with blocks and frag- 
ments of various sizes. The same materials strew the whole front 
down to b b, except the space marked i i, where the ice is seen in 
very distinct strata, averaging, probably, about two yards in thick- 
ness. It has been shewn by Professor Forbes that what seem 
" strata" in a glacier, are curved laminae of a conoidal form gene- 
rated by the unequal motion- of the ice — the middle moving faster 
than the sides, and the top faster than the bottom. The left or north 
side of the glacier d', is higher than the right d, and fully 300 feet 
above the gravelly bed of the streams at the foot of the glacier. Its 
breadth from G to G in M. Desor's plan (1842) is about 1600 feet, 
or nearly one third of a mile; but the glacier being formed by the 
junction of two others (those of the Finster and Lauter Aar), is five 
miles long if measured back to the point where they unite, and at the 
higher end has a breadth of 4000 feet. The glacier of the Finster 
Aar was sounded by M. Desor to the depth of 761 feet, without 
being sure that he had reached tho bottom. The part of the frontal 

Erratics of the A lps. 297 

declivity i, consisting of ice, was nearly vertical, 
as in the annexed section ; while the part between 
d and b (Fig. 9) on the north side was entire- 
ly covered with blocks, and inclined probably at 
an angle of 30° or 35°. Owing to the mobility 
of the blocks affording very insecure footing, we 
ascended by the side of the fixed rock and partly 
upon it, and walked about a mile along the surface in the direction 
d e. Its appearance was new and strange, quite unlike anything I 
had previously seen on glaciers. No ice was visible, no groups of 
picturesque cones like spires, none of the huge transverse rents 
called crevasses ; from side to side the surface was a sheet of frag- 
ments great and small — resembling a dry river channel covered with 
stones, and confined by walls of rock above 1000 feet in height. Yet 
the coating of stones, though massive in appearance, was really thin ; 
for, on shoving aside two or three of the smaller fragments, the ice 
generally came into view, and no doubt constituted the entire mass 
from e to /. The debris spread over the surface in this way, forming 
what Charpentier terms the " superficial moraine," are all carried 
ultimately, by the slow progressive movement of the glacier, to its 
lower end, where they drop over the declivity, and, resting at its 
foot, are called the " terminal moraine" (6). The fusion at the 
lower end prevents this progressive motion from adding to the glacier's 

I 1 Lit" ' *t" '■■". .'■ 

The glacier, by means of the mud, sand, and gravel which lie 
below it, or adhere to its under part, polishes, scratches, and grooves 
the rock in contact with its sides and bottom. The scratches and 
grooves correspond with the line of the glacier's motion — that is, 
they are horizontal, or nearly so, even upon vertical surfaces, and 
their aspect, form, and direction, with the polishing which accom- 
panies them, are- so peculiar and characteristic, that, when they are 
found in any valley now never visited by permanent ice or snow, 
they afford decisive evidence of the former existence of glaciers at 
the place ; for they are such as no other agent known in nature 
produces in such localities. The limestone of the Alps, at least that 
of the valley of Hash, wastes too rapidly to retain the scratches and 
grooves, unless where it is well covered with soil, but they present 
themselves in abundance as soon as we enter the region of granite 
and gneiss. Now, these characteristic marks of glacier action are 
met with, not only in the neighbourhood of the present glacier, and 
on the same level with it, but ten miles lower down in the valley, and 
more than 1000 feet above it in vertical height. Agassiz describes 
the grooves in the valley of Ober-Hasli as from an inch to a foot in 
breadth. There are many of them, however, two feet in breadth, 
some even three or four, and this on surfaces of rock almost vertical, 
and 1500 feet above the traveller's head. They exist in thousands, 
and are so conspicuous that, in wet weather, their glittering aspect 

298 Charles Maclaren, Esq., on the 

constantly attracts the eye. Between the hospice of the Grimsel 
and the present glacier there are several places where you may find 
a precipitous face of rock, of the extent of an acre, all grooved with 
broad shallow horizontal grooves, but marked off into oblong spaces 
by dark, vertical, and horizontal lines, caused by fissures in the rock. 
As the granite here is in strata, resting on their edges, according to 
M. Desor, the vertical fissures must be seams, and the horizontal 
ones joints. When the surface of the broad grooves is sufficiently 
near the eye to be examined, it presents fine striae. These may be 
seen at the large smoothed area, called the Hellenplatz (figured in 
Agassiz's 16th Plate), a little above the Handeck Waterfall, and with 
the aid of a pocket telescope even a better view may be got, both of 
the grooves and striae on a rock on the opposite side of the river. 

Holding it then as established, that distinctly-grooved rocks in 
Alpine valleys are sure marks of the action of glaciers, the next 
question is, To what altitude above the present bottom of the valley 
of Hasli are these marks found? Now, on this point we have a dis- 
tinct statement from Agassiz. He ascertained by barometrical 
measurement, that on the Siedelhorn, which flanks the glacier on 
the south, the striated rocks rise to the height of 2762 feet (English) 
above the valley at the foot of the existing glacier. (Etudes, p. 254.) 
There are estimates even higher than this, for Elie de Beaumont 
admits that the upper limits of the erratic zone (marked by polished 
rocks or travelled boulders) in the Alpine valleys indicate a depth of 
800 or 1000 metres. — (jtemarques sur deux points de la Theorie 
de Glaciers, 1842.) We are safe then in assuming that a glacier 
2500 feet or more in depth occupied the valley of Hasli at an ancient 
period. With such a depth we can well understand that the river 
of ice might transport blocks of granite across the Brunig Pass into 
the valley of Sarnen, which had then of course a glacier of its own, 
with a northerly motion. The glacier of the Aar had then occupied 
the whole of the Alpine portion of the valley, fifty miles in length, 
which ends at Thun, and must have extended beyond it into the plain, 
as far as Berne, where the remnants of a moraine still exist. What 
the minimum of inclination is necessary to give motion to a glacier 
will be afterwards considered. From the lower end of the present 
glacier to Brienz the fall is one foot in thirty-four, or an inclination 
rather under two degrees ; from the same point to Thun, it is one 
foot in sixty-four, or fifty-three minutes. 

The sum of the argument derived from the preceding details may 
be thus stated : — ibiva : & \to •: e rfoiw d 

There are two facts characteristic of existing glaciers in the Alps. 
First, They carry down from the higher parts of the valleys masses 
of rock often of vast size, and deposit them on the sides of the lower 
parts of these valleys, or at their terminations. Secondly, They 
polish and striate the rocks in contact with them. Now, in the 
valley of Hasli, which we have been examining, we find a glacier at 

Erratics of the A ZpafadO 299 

the upper extremity performing these functions — transporting boul- 
ders, and polishing and striating the rocks in contact with it to the 
height of 300 feet above the visible bottom of the valley. But in 
the same valley, both at the present glacier and many miles lower 
down, we find the same characteristic marks of glacier action ; at a 
much greater elevation, we find large boulders, and these generally 
angular, not rounded or water- worn, transported from the upper 
valley and lodged on the sides of the lower at a height not much 
short of 2000 feet, and we find polished and striated rocks at the 
same elevation. Can we doubt that the same effects in both cases 
proceeded from the same causes — that the agent which now deposits 
boulders and polishes rocks at 300 feet of elevation, also deposited 
the boulders and polished the rocks at 1700 or 2500 feet? — in a 
word, that a glacier 2500 feet in depth at some former period oc- 
cupied the valley of Hasli, and extended to Thun, or beyond it ? 
Where the parallelism is so complete, it would be against all sound 
philosophical principles to account for the phenomena by calling in 
a different agency, and one, too, purely hypothetical, to supersede 
that which is in operation before our eyes. 

■ ihied eil- tfo e djuoa orfo 

(.£52 .q t whis?& ans P ortat i' on of Alpine Blocks to Jura. 3I jj 970^ 

We have thus good evidence that glaciers like the present, but of 
much greater dimensions, afford a satisfactory explanation of the 
transference of granite blocks from the higher Alps to the lower ends 
of the valleys in the limestone district — that is, to the borders of the 
level country. It remains to be considered how far the same agency 
will account for the transportation of blocks from the Alps across 
the level country to Mount Jura. These blocks were long a puzzle 
to geologists, and are still a marvel to tourists. They are of gra- 
nite gneiss, and other rocks belonging to the Alps, and they are 
seen lying in thousands on the southern face of the limestone chain 
of Jura, to which they must have been carried across the plain of 
Switzerland over a space of fifty miles or more. They are found 
not merely at the foot, or on the lower declivities of Jura, but high 
on its sides, at an elevation of 2000 feet above the country they had 
traversed. The first hint of the theory which attributes the con- 
veyance of the granite boulders to glaciers was given by our towns- 
man the late Professor Playfair. It was afterwards broached by M. 
Venetz, a Swiss engineer, who probably was not aware that his idea 
had been anticipated. It was next adopted by Charpentier, who 
fortified it with a great variety of evidence in a memoir produced in 
1834, and republished in an enlarged form in 1840; and it has 
received further support from Agassiz and Guyot of Neuchatel. 

Map II. represents the western portion of Switzerland, iooi 1o 
^ediG-, the Lake, and g, the Town of Geneva. sq 

B D, the Bernese Oberland. The Lakes of Thun and Brienz are 
seen near D. 

>«'() Charles Maclaren, Esq. on the 

N, the Lake of Neuchatel. 

B /, Mont Blanc. 

t' t, the Pennine Chain which bounds the Great Valley on the 

v v, the opposite chain which divides the Bernese Oberland from 

the Great Valley. 
r a c q d u p n y b, the dotted space thus marked is the Valley 
of the Rhone (which, for distinction sake, I shall call the 
Great Valley.) It is shut in on all sides by high mountains, 
except at e, where the river escapes through a broad and deep 
opening. The true breadth of the Great Valley is much 
greater than that shewn in the map. e -oam 

y f x h i k, the western part of the Plain of Switzerland, and the 
southern declivities of Mount Jura, over all which erratics, con- 
sisting of blocks of granite, gneiss, serpentine, &c, are distri- 
buted, which have been proved to be derived from the Great 
Valley above mentioned. The area over which the transported 
materials are spread extends fromMountSion ($), on the south- 
west to a point near Soleure (A), on the east. Its length is 
about 110 miles, its breadth from &to/30, and the blocks 
ascend on the side of Mount Jura at /, to a height above the 
plain which has been variously stated, but which, on the au- 
thority of Elie de Beaumont, I put down at 3450 English feet 
(1050 metres) above the sea, or 2015 above the lake of Neu- 
It is by means of certain rocks of a marked lithological character, 
and therefore easily recognisable by a good mineralogist, that the 
travelled boulders strewed over Jura and the Plain of Switzerland 
have been traced to their primitive sites, and the course they pur- 
sued in their migrations ascertained. The phenomena are much 
more complicated here than in the Valley of Hasli, and also on a 
much grander scale. The Great Valley, r a c q, &c, is 100 miles 
long and 50 broad, and every part of it has furnished its contingent 
of blocks and fragments. M. Guyot deduces from an elaborate in- 
vestigation of the phenomena, that the boulders are not scattered 
promiscuously over Mount Jura and the Swiss plain, but that a cer- 
tain order prevails in their distribution, similar to that which pre- 
vails among the materials brought down by glaciers, in the shape of 
lateral, medial, and terminal moraines. (Bulletin de la Societe des 
Sciences Naturelles de Neuchatel, Seances Mai, Nov., and Dec. 
1 845.) The travelled masses relied on as evidence are, with one 
exception, all igneous or mctamorphic — namely, granite of three 
varieties, gneiss, chlorite slate, euphotide eclogite, serpentine, and 
a peculiar conglomerate. These being spread over a district 
(y f h i k) 9 composed of rocks entirely different (sandstone and 
limestone), are easily discriminated. And even the precise locality 
from which a block came can in some cases be ascertained. 

Erratics of the A $M 301 

The boulders attain their greatest elevation on Jura, at the hill of 
Chasseron (/ in the map), precisely opposite the valley (<?), through 
which they must have passed. At this spot, granite blocks from the 
east shoulder of Mont Blanc (u) are found 2000 feet above the plain. 
From /, the boulders continue to present themselves on the declivities 
eastward, but at lower and lower elevations, all the way to A, where 
they descend to the level of the plain. They continue also westward 
to g, with a similar change in elevation, so that, if a section were 
made along the south face of Jura, it would form an arc, of which 
the middle would be probably 1500 feet higher then the extremities. 
Supposing the fact to be well ascertained, Charpentier justly con- 
siders it as strong evidence to shew that the boulders were transport- 
ed by glaciers. For, in this case, the primary movement of the ice 
(a semifluid mass, be it remembered) would be in the direction of 
the valley (<?) from which it issued — that is, right to /. It would 
indeed tend to diffuse itself laterally as soon as it reached the low 
country, but the dynamic pressure, so far as it acted on the mass, 
would operate most strongly in the direction ef. The progress of 
the glacier would be stopped by the mountain at /, which would then 
become a secondary centre of dynamic pressure, and accelerate the 
motion towards g and h ; and the semifluid ice thus acted on, and 
obeying the law of gravitation, would have its surface gently inclined 
to these two points. The boulders resting on Jura would thus be 
deposited at lower and lower levels, in proportion as the places they 
rested on were farther and farther from /. If, on the contrary, we 
assume that the boulders were transported on floating ice, is it not 
evident that they would have been found at as high a level at g and 
h as at/? for water, unlike a viscous fluid, would find a true level 
over a space like this in a few hours or days, while the great number 
of the boulders shew that their distribution must have extended over 
thousands of years. (Charpentier, Essai, sect. 53^ i - Boi 

M. Guyot, states, that on the declivities of Jura, on the Bernese 
Oberland, from k to i, and even in the intermediate plain, a linear 
arrangement of the blocks and fragments may be traced, such as exists 
in moraines, and a distribution in harmony with the laws of glacier 
motion. Thus, fragments derived from the right bank of the Great 
Valley (a c q), are found on the right side of the basin (k i), while 
those derived from the left bank (y np w), are found on the left side 
of the basin (/ and towards h), and those derived from the upper left 
bank (6 t), occupy the middle of the basin, and are found in the space 
between i and h, where they constitute what M. Guyot calls the fron- 
tal or terminal moraine of the eastern glacier. There is a huge 
boulder of talcose granite resting on a low eminence at Steinhoff, 
ten miles south-east from Seleure (near h), containing 61,000 cubic 
feet (French), and weighing more than 5000 tons. It will give a 
better idea of its magnitude to state that it is equal in bulk to a mass 
measuring forty feet in length, breadth, and depth — as large, in short, 


302 Charles Maekren, Liaq., on the 

as a goodiy house of three storeys ! Now, M. Charpentier ascer- 
tained from its composition, that the boulder is a portion of a rock on 
the south-east part of the valley (near t). From this point it had 
travelled round by the valley, e, (for there is no other outlet), per- 
forming a journey of 150 miles, to A, where it now lies, a monument 
of the vast powers which nature has at her command, and of tlfe 
mighty physical changes which this part of Europe has undergone. 

We have further evidence of glacier agency in the fact that the 
blocks and debris on the two sides of the Rhone are kept wonderfully 
distinct. The valley of Entremont, for example, at p, and the val- 
leys of St Nicolas and Saas between b and n. bring down from the 
Pennine chain or southern ridge (if t), thousands of fragments great 
and small, of the rocks pecular to each, talcose granite, chloritic 
gneiss, diallage, and serpentine. These abound along the left side 
of the valley, and are diffused far and wide over the Swiss plain ; 
but what on a first view seems strange, none of them have been car- 
ried across the valley to c or q. Those from 6, for instance, are i 
found high on the slopes of Jura at /, a hundred miles from their 
parent rock, while they are not found on the ridge (y v) just opposite. 
Now, a similar law of distribution is peculiar to a glacier. The de- 
bris which collects on its right and left flanks, forming its lateral 
moraines, may be carried many miles downwards ; and yet (unless 
they are forced together at a narrow gorge) not a block will pass 
from the one side to the other, though the space which divides them 
may be small. Had the blocks been transported on masses of float- 
ing ice, and acted upon, of course, by winds and currents, this re- 
markable separation could not have been maintained. 

While the larger portion of the fragments derived from the Great 
Valley went eastward, and were diffused over the space kfh i, another 
portion, and at a later period, as M. Guyot thinks, went in the op- 
posite direction, and formed the western glacier, whose course was 
through the Lake of Geneva (G), to the western part of Jura. Its 
right moraine was midway between /and g; its left ran along the 
south shore of the lake, and its frontal or terminal moraine was at S. 
To me, however, it appears that the whole ridge of Jura from S to h 
should be considered as part of the terminal moraine. 

The blocks on the middle region of Jura, from / westward, and 
above the Lake of Neuchatel (N), from two zones. The upper 
reaches an elevation of 2000 feet ; the elevation of the lower is from 
500 to 1000 feet; and between them is a zone 1000 feet broad, 
nearly destitute of blocks. The granites of Mont Blanc from u, and 
the various rocks of the Pennine chain from t to p, constitute the 
higher zone almost exclusively. They are found in the lower zone 
also, but mixed with others. Though Jura is the extreme boundary 
of the erratic basin, the blocks are much more numerous on it than 
in the plain — a fact quite in harmony with the glacier hypothesis, 
for the plain would only receive the blocks which happened to be 

Erratics of the xilps. 


spread over the surface of the glacier at the moment of its dissolution, 
while Jura being the cite of a frontal moraine, would be a landing 
place for blocks, perhaps for thousands of years. (Charpentier, Essai, 
p. 267.) Had they been borne on floating-ice the order of distribu- 
tion would have been reversed ; they would have been most abundant 
near the source of supply, that is about G k, scarcer at m o, and 
very scarce on Mount Jura. 

The Steinhoff boulder, containing 61,000 cubic feet, has been 
mentioned, but there are some others worthy of special notice. One 
of the most celebrated lies on Mount Jura at x, some hundred feet 
above Neuchatel (N), and being of easy access, has been visited by 
crowds of tourists. It is called Pierre a Bot (or toadstone), and 
measures 50 feet in length, 20 in breadth, and 40 in height. This 
great block is of granite from the north-east shoulder of Mont Blanc 
(u), and has been carried to a distance of 80 miles from the parent 
rock. I was prevented by accident from seeing the Pierre a Bot, 
but I saw many of the smaller size in the vicinity. 

At Orsieres, near Martigny, there is a granite boulder estimated 
to contain 100,000 cubic feet, and weighing consequently 8000 
tons. It is a travelled block, for it rests on a limestone mountain, 
but it probably has not travelled far. ^xid 

At Monthey (near e) there is a remarkable group of granite 
blocks, amidst which I spent some hours. They lie on a sort of ter- 
race, about 400 feet above the bottom of the valley, and form a belt 
from 300 to 800 feet in breadth, according to M. Charpentier, and 
a mile and a half in length. One, called Pierre des Marmettes, 
with a summer-house on its top, is 63 feet long, 32 broad, and 30 
in height. Another, named Pierre a Mourguets, is 65 feet long. 
There are many others whose solid contents are from 300 to 400 
cubic yards. The large ones have their angles almost always sharp, 
shewing that they have not been rolled or exposed to attrition, and 
this holds true of the travelled boulders on Jura and in the Alpine 
valleys generally. All the large blocks at Monthey are of one spe- 
cies, and belong to the granite of the north-east shoulder of Mont 
Blanc (near u), from which they are now 27 miles distant. Char- 
pentier explains their depositation here by a glacier as follows : — 

Fig. 10. 


1 _____ .^ 070( j fi 

I oi 00d 

h vJlBSa 


onox ledgixf 

irrr iud e oafj5 
__ ^ ^ 

G, Cross section of an ancient glacier occupying the valley (at e, 
in the map) between the mountains, A B. 


c d 

__ ; hfX 


* J Li lo 

r. e 



304 Charles Maclaren, Esq., on the 

a 6, The upper surface of the glacier. 

c d, A pile of blocks forming part of a medial moraine, resting 
on the surface of the glacier, but a little raised above it. The 
covering of stones protects the ice below, while the uncovered part 
being exposed to fusion and evaporation, wastes away, and the mo- 
raine is thus found riding on a ridge of ice, which Professor Forbes 
informs us is sometimes 80 feet high. 

When the glacier was in progress towards final dissolution, its 
surface a b gradually subsiding, would arrive in course of time at 
the line e, and the blocks c' d! would then be deposited on the ter- 
race in the position c d where we find them, 400 feet above the 
bottom of the valley, except a few which slid over the declivity. 
This explanation appears to me satisfactory, though our distin- 
guished countryman, Sir Roderick Murchison, has raised some ob- 
jections to it. We learn from Elie de Beaumont's Memoir that 
there are glacial traces on the hills near Monthey, at an elevation 
of 2350 feet (English) above the present bottom of the valley. The 
left lateral moraine, therefore, of the great glacier would be at a, 
probably 2000 or 3000 feet westward from c d. 

Having sketched the distribution of the travelled blocks, we recur 
to the grand question — What were the means of their transporta- 
tion ? And as we found that Charpentier's theory affords a plausi- 
ble explanation of the erratic phenomena in the valley of the Aar, 
let us inquire whether it is applicable to those we have been describ- 
ing. The inquiry then presents itself in this form — whether the 
magnitude and position of the ancient glacier which occupied the 
Great Valley of the Upper Rhone, were such as, in accordance with 
the laws of glacier motion, would enable it to transport the Alpine 
blocks from their primitive sites to the Swiss plain, and the decli- 
vities of Mount Jura ? 

The data for the solution of this problem are not so ample as 
might be desired. The most important, so far as my information 
extends, are supplied by the Memoir of Elie de Beaumont pre- 
viously referred to, in which he gives the greatest elevation at which 
polished rocks and erratics have been found at several points in the 
Great Valley and across the Swiss plain to Jura. These traces in- 
dicate the height and depth of the ancient glacier, and, when con- 
nected by measuring the intervening spaces, enable us to deduce the 
slope or inclination, which determined its progressive motion. The 
following is Elie de Beaumont's table, with the metres converted 
into English feet : — 

Upper limit of Polished, Bocks and, Erratics above the Sea. 


1. Near the Grimsel (r in the map), . . . 7547 

2. Near Aernen (between r and b), . . . 5848 

Erratics of the Alps. 305 


3. Near Brieg (6), . . . . . . 4988 

4. Near Martigny (d), 4757 

5. Near Great Saint Bernard (on ridge if above p), 8203 

6. Mountain of Plan-y-Beuf (p), .... 5804 

7. Above Monthey (e), .... iemo: . 3796 

8. Chalets of Playau (near k), 4010 

9. Chasseron on Mount Jura (/), .... 3444 

The traces at Nos. 5 and 6 belong to tributary or confluent gla- 
ciers. Setting these aside, and putting the spaces from 1 to 2 and 
2 to 3 together, the slope or inclination, from the head r y of the an- 
cient glacier, to its north-west termination f, is given by M. de 
Beaumont as follows :— 

Slope or Inclination. 

In degrees T r . 

, P , In feet, 

and minutes. 

From the Grimsel to Brieg (r to 6), . 1° 5' 1 foot in 51 

. . . Breig to Martigny (b to d), . 3' 1 . . . 1143 

... Martigny to Playau (d to k), . 18' 1 ... 193 

... Playau to Chasseron (k to /), . 12' 1 ... 285 

Leaving out Monthey, there is a constant fall, as the table shews, 
from one station to another, but at rates generally varying. From 
the Grimsel to Brieg it is 1 foot in 51, From Brieg to Martigny 
it is extremely small ; in the two following intervals it is greater, 
though still below the first. 

Dividing the whole space, 132 miles in length, into two sections, 
the inclination is :— 

From the Grimsel to Martigny (r to d), 24' 1 foot in 143 

. . . Martigny to Chasseron (d to /), 1 5' 1 . . . 230 

Or taking the whole in one continuous line : — 

From the Grimsel to Chasseron (r to/), 28' 1 foot in 160 

But the glaciers which occupied the valleys at Plan-y-Beuf, and 
of the Val de Bagne, at t r p and u, must not be overlooked. They 
are lateral valleys indeed, but their size and elevation, and the posi- 
tion they occupied, nearly in a line with the opening e, through 
which the grand glacier debouched into the plain, must have ren- 
dered them powerful auxiliaries. Descending from a great elevation 
along a steep surface, falling perhaps 1 foot in 12, it is probable, that, 
instead of joining the principal glacier laterally, they would override 
it, and increase its height by many hundred feet. We know, in fact, 
that it was from the valley of Ferrex, on the west side of Plan-y- 
Beuf, that a large proportion of the highest blocks on Jura (those 
at Chasseron) came. * M. de Beaumont has accordingly recognised 

306 Clmrles Maclaren, Esq.. on the 

the importance of those glaciers, and calculated the inclination of the 
line connecting them with Jura, which is as follows : — 

Minutes. In feet. 
From Plan-y-Beuf to Chasseron (p to/), 22' 1 foot in 156 

... St Bernard to Chasseron (t r to /), 40' 1 ... 86 

The data, however, on which these calculations rest are open to 
some objections. When the glacial traces consist of polished rocks, 
which are seldom continuous over great spaces, it may happen that 
the highest have escaped notice. Thus M. de Beaumont puts down 
2300 metres as the upper limit near the G-rimsel Pass ; but Agassiz 
and Desor subsequently found polished rocks on the mountain which 
forms the western side of that Pass, the Siedelhorn, at 2447 metres 
of elevation (Desor " Excursions et Sejours" p. 242.) Thus 482 
feet were added to the difference of level between r and /, and the 
general slope was raised from 1 foot in 160 to 1 foot in 153. Again, 
when the difference of level between the traces at Brieg and Mar- 
tigny (b and d), a distance of fifty miles, was put down at 70 metres 
or 229 feet, should not some allowance be made for the effect of the 
great glaciers which descended from the lateral valleys of Saas, St 
Nicholas, Annivier, and Erin (at n and y), in enlarging the princi- 
pal glacier and forcing it to expand upward at points below Brieg. 
In the next place, glacial traces may once have existed at a greater 
elevation, and been subsequently obliterated. None are marked in 
M. de Beaumont's table as occurring in that long space of fifty miles, 
but as the rocks on both sides are of limestone, which wastes rapidly, 
few polished or striated surfaces could be expected. Moraines, in- 
deed, may exist, though they also are liable to obliteration. On the 
whole, we cannot be sure that the traces now visible at any locality 
are the highest which have existed. 

Depth of the Ancient Glacier. ^X^ 

The enormous depth of the ancient glaciers is still more astonish- 
ing than their length or breadth, and to this element we can approxi- 
mate with the aid of Keller's map, which gives the height not only 
of the mountain tops, but of sundry points in the bottom of the 
valleys. Thus the elevation of the upper limit of erratics at Aernen 
(between r and b) is 1813 metres above the sea, in the table, and 
that of the town standing at the bottom of the valley, according to 
Keller's map, is 2990 French feet. Converting the measures into 
our own, and deducting the latter from the former, the depth of the 
glacier is found to be 2756 English feet. The whole calculated in 
this way are as follow : — 


Krr«(icsoftheA! P *. -MU 

ds lo aobfiiiibai s (b bsteluolBo La. I)ept of guS?" ; 

At Aernen, -woM . . . f . 2756 feot. 

.,. Brieg (b). 2662 ... 

M.niMartigny (tf), 217" 

* . . . Monthey («), 2350 . 

oj jtidero^ a y au (^)j assuming with Charpentier that 

P3 f no - fv QI -the Lake of Geneva was covered with ice, > 2780~ x ... 
^A\ rf^ftfT^P which the glacier floated, 

flwollt the glacier tilled the bed of the lake to the bottom, its depth 
opposite the Rhone would be about 3200 feet. 

mora &dt l . i5 p9adu8 logad has 

^ od i eh Preadth of the Ulacier. 

When the glacier of the Rhone had a depth of 3000 feet, its 
breadth would probably not exceed 8 or 10 miles. It will be seen 
in the map that the Pennine Chain f t throws out transverse ridges 
or " spurs," separating the valleys p ny-b, each of which would have 
its distinct glacier, but all of them tributary to the grand glacier. 
These ridges terminate northward in peaks rising 5000 or 6000 feet 
above the bottom of the valley, and consequently 2000 or 3000 above 
the top of the grand glacier. The space between these peaks and 
the northern chain v v, which defines the breadth of the grand glacier, 
varies from 10 to 14 miles, but would not exceed 8 or 10 at the 
surface of the ice. But after escaping from the valley of the Rhone 
into the Swiss plain, its breadth would dilate to 30 miles, it reckoned 
from k to/, or to 110 if reckoned from S to A. The dimensions of 
the ancient glacier which spread the debris of the Alps over the plain 
of Switzerland and the declivities of Mount Jura, may therefore be 
estimated approximately as follows : — ■ 

Length from r to Mount Jura at /, 132 miles ; from r to north- 
east terminal moraine at h, 160 miles ; and to the south-west one 
at S, nearly the same. Breadth in the Great Valley from 8 to 10 
miles, in the Swiss Plain 30 miles in one direction, and 110 in an- 
other. Depth in the Great Valley from 2600 to 3000 feet, near 
k in the plain 2780, and thence to / probably from 500 to 2000 feet. 
(Ifio Jon td-gied odd is QI fo iftiw eteiji 

:l Btaioq i°ilm$' 1L ? aqoJ nijjJnjjom od* 1c 

Figure 11 is a section across the Great Valley and the Swiss 
Plain from if to /. The letters correspond (except P, incorrectly 
put for|>) ; the horizontal scale is double that of the map, and the 
elevations here are in French feet above the sea. 

t\ The Great St Bernard — height 9000 feet above the sea. 

At o, glacial traces exist at a height of 7794 feet. 

308 Charles Maelaren, Esq., oh the 

P, Mountain Plan-y-Beuf — where traces exist at 5445 feet. 

d, Martigny — height 1480 feet above the sea. 

e. The bottom of the valley at Monthey. 

G, Lake of Geneva, 1150 feet above the sea. 

k, Hill where Chalet of Playau stands — traces at 3760 feet. 

N, Lake of Neuchatel 1340 feet. 

/, Mount Jura — traces at 3444 feet. 

The dotted outline from m to k indicates the position of the moun- 
tains forming the eastern boundary of the valley d e ; m is the Dent 
de Morcles, 8940 French feet in height ; n, the hills north-east from 

The parallel lines in the figure indicate the position of the rock 
formations. At/ on Mount Jura the limestone dips south-east at 
a pretty high angle. From N to G the Molasse, a sandstone, varies 
much, but has generally a slight dip to the south-east ; from G to 
t the rocks consist of limestones and slates of different ages from the 
chalk to the Palaeozoic series, with masses of granite or gneiss 
(marked by closer lines) intercalated at P and d. The stratified 
rocks here are highly inclined, and sometimes vertical. The figure 
is intended merely to convey a general idea of the form of the sur- 
face over which the glacier glided, and the lines of, P/, do not in- 
dicate the true inclination of its surface, but one very much greater. 
The line o / dips at an angle of 5°, while the true dip of a line 
passing from the one position to the other is only 40'. 

Slope of the Ancient Glacier. 

Would the inclination before mentioned of 22' or one foot in 156, 
suffice to generate progressive motion in a glacier ? — Positive data 
for the solution of this question do not exist, but there are facts 
from which inferences may be drawn by analogy. To any one who 
knows nothing more of glaciers than what the eye tells, it may seem 
strange to say that these masses of ice are plastic, and have a mo- 
tion like that of a semi-fluid body, such as tar or wet mortar. The 
lower end of a glacier is generally a precipice of ice, ten, twenty, 
or thirty feet high ; and, in some cases, where it emerges from the 
valley, and projects into the plain, it has the form of a mound, very 
steep, both on the sides and front. On the upper surface are seen 
fissures two or three yards wide, and fifty or a hundred long, with 
vertical sides, and the lower end often presents galleries many yards 
in length, with upright walls, and large enough to permit a man to 
walk in thenu To admit the plasticity of a body of this description 
seems somewhat like renouncing the testimony of our senses. That 
such, however, is really the constitution of glacier ice, has been 
proved in Professor Forbes's able and well-known " Travels in the 
Alps," to which the reader is referred for ample details. He de- 
scribes glacier ice as traversed by an infinity of capillary fissures, 
and forming, in fact, a " congeries of tightly-wedged polyhedrons," 

Erratics of the Alps. 309 

of the most irregular figures, and often three inches or more in 
length. According to Agassiz, it consists of fragments from half 
an inch to an inch and a half in breadth, increasing to three inches 
at the lower end of the glacier. The fissures, says Professor Forbes, 
admit the free infiltration of water to great depths, and impart to 
the mass " a certain rude flexibility within narrow limits." As 
evidence of this flexibility, it may be sufficient to mention two facts. 
First, the middle of a glacier moves faster than the sides, shewing 
that the constituent polyhedrons of the ice separate from, and glide 
over, or pass one another. Secondly, a glacier accommodates itself 
to the dimensions of its bed ; it contracts its breadth when it has to 
pass through a narrow gorge, and expands again when the bed widens. 
Its motions, in short, resemble those of tar or mortar or mud on an 
inclined plane. 

The extreme facility with which water obeys the law of gravitation 
is well known. The " rapid" Rhone, according to M. de Beaumont, 
has a mean fall of only V 54" or about 3 feet per mile, from Lyons 
to Aries. Nay, there are portions of the Rhine and the Seine, he 
says, where the declivity is so small as 8, or even 4 seconds — that 
is, a fall of one foot in 25,000 or 50,000. Sir Charles Lyell states 
that the surface of the Mississippi, at its junction with the Ohio, has 
an elevation of no more than 200 feet above the Gulf of Mexico. 
The round number of 200 may raise a doubt whether it is the result 
of careful measurement; but if so, the fall must be only about 
2 inches per mile ; for the length of the river below the junction, 
including all its sinuosities, is estimated in "Darby's" Louisiana at 
1175 miles. The component parts of a glacier, however, want the 
mobility of the molecules of water, and the motion of the former is 
better illustrated by the troughs filled with plaster of Paris in Pro- 
fessor Forbes' s ingenious experiment. We have another illustration 
in the flowing of a lava current, which, like the glacier itself, has the 
advantage of being on a grand scale. M. de Beaumont, in his valu- 
able Memoir on Mount Etna, gives a table of the declivities or slopes 
of a great number of currents in active or extinct volcanoes. In 
22 of these the slope was under 3 degrees; in 10 it was under 2 
degrees ; in 5 under 1 degree (that is, less than 1 foot in 57), and 
in the vast currents which flowed from the Icelandic volcano of 
Skapta Jokul in the terrible eruption of 1783, to an extent of 50 
miles, the slope was only 30 minutes, or a fall of 1 foot in 114. 
This was the mean slope, and at some parts the actual fall must 
have been still less. Now, the fluidity of lava is much less perfect 
than that of water, even at the moment when it issues from the 
crater, and when passing through the pasty condition before it be- 
comes solid, as in the lower part of a coulee, may fitly bear a com- 
parison with glacier ice. In its most liquid state, a large stone 
thrown upon it floats on its surface, as a loaf floats on honey, which 
it resembles in consistency. A coulee, eight feet broad, which I saw 

310 Charles Maclaren, Esq., on the 

on the top of Vesuvius, flowed sluggishly, according to my estimate, 
at the rate of a foot in five or six seconds, and had morsels of solid 
lava floating on it. In the eruption of 1831, Mr Auldjo found the 
lava the day after its eruption advancing in the low ground at the 
slow rate of ten feet per hour. The coulees of Etna are on a grander 
scale. Mr Scrope saw one " slowly progressing at the rate of about 
a yard per day" nine months after it had issued from the flank of 
the mountain ; and other currents are described by Ferrara and Dolo- 
mein " as still moving on ten years after their emission," — clear 
evidence of a pasty condition and very slow motion like that of a glacier. 
The pasty condition which lava assumes is further exemplified in the 
stringy forms and strange shapes into which it is drawn out or twisted, 
resembling coils of rope, horns, festoons, &c, and still better, perhaps, 
in the multitudeof cells it contains, curiously elongated in the direction 
of its motion. Mr Scrope applies to it the terms " viscous, glutinous, 
ductile, semi-solid." — {Considerations on Volanoes,ip. 102.) Again, 
there is a similarity even in the external form of the glacier and the 
lava coulee. The latter moves on between two ridges of seorise, or 
solidified portions of its own substance, as a glacier advances between 
lines of fragments torn from the rocks it has been in contact with. 
Both are resisted by friction on the sides and bottom of their 
channels ; in both, owing to this resistance, the middle moves faster 
than the sides and bottom, and the upper surface is raised into a con- 
vex form. Further, the parallel flutings {cannelures) noticed on the 
surface by M. de Beaumont, are the counterparts of Forbes's " blue 
bands,'' and like them arise from the different parts of the current or 
coulee, moving with different velocities. In short, widely unlike as 
the substances are, there is no doubt that gravitation acts upon 
them very nearly in the same manner, and that if a mean slope of 
30', or one foot in 114, suffices to carry a deep coulee of lava over 
a line of 50 miles, there is a reasonable presumption that, with a 
declivity equally small, a glacier 2500 feet deep might advance from 
Martigny to Chasseron. yiev on svjsd 

Professor Forbes, an excellent authority on such questions, con- 
siders it certain that the law which regulates the motion of the more 
perfect fluids, such as water, is applicable to the more imperfect, such 
as glacier ice {Travels in the Alps, p. 385, first Ed.) The effect of 
that law, in reference to the dimensions of a stream, is thus concisely 
enunciated — " A stream of twice the length, breadth, and depth of 
another, will flow on a declivity half as great, and one of ten times 
the dimensions upon one-tenth of the slope." Now, the mean slope 
of the Glacier de Bois over a space of three miles where it was most 
level, was found by the same author to be 4| degrees, or about 1 foot 
in 13 ; its depth, near the upper limit of that space, was reported to 
be 350 feet; but this was believed to be the extreme depth, and the 
mean for the three miles may perhaps be taken at 250 feet. Its 
ra£q of motion \:ui«>- from day to day- small in winter, greatest in 

Erratics of the Alps. 311 

warm and wet weather. At a distance of 100 yards from the side, 
it was found to be 483 feet per annum, and in the middle it was 
estimated at two-fifths more, or 676. Now, if a slope of 4| degrees 
gives motion to a glacier 250 feet deep, it follows from the rule laid 
down, that a slope only one-tenth of this — viz., of 27 minutes (or 1 
foot in 127), would suffice for a glacier ten times as deep (and wide 
in proportion), such as the one which has left traces of its existence 
3100 feet above Martigny, and 2780 feet above the Lake of Geneva 
at the Chalet of Playau. The question put was, ivhether a slope of 
22 minutes would be adequate ? and the result obtained (27'), is suf- 
ficiently near to shew that there is little force in the objection drawn 
from the small difference of level between the point P, whence the 
blocks come, and the point/, to which they were carried. It must 
be kept in mind, too, that the relative heights of P and / have not 
yet been determined geometrically. Professor Forbes spoke from 
careful consideration when he said — " We cannot admit it to be any 
sufficient argument against the extension of ancient glaciers to the 
Jura, that they must have moved with a superficial slope of one degree, 
or in some parts even of a half or a quarter of that amount, whilst in 
existing glaciers the slope is seldom or never under three degrees. 1 ' 

There is no other large glacier whose mechanical constitution and 
motions have been studied with the same care as those of the Glacier 
de Bois, but some interesting facts are given by Agassiz and Desor 
respecting the great glacier of the Lower Aar. In a length of 7000 
metres from the Hotel Neuchatelois (a cave) to the top of the ter- 
minal declivity, the surface falls 486^ metres (Desor, " Excursions" 
p. 242) indicating an angle of 3° 58', or a slope of one foot in 14^ 
nearly. According to M. Martins, the lower part of the glacier in 
1842 advanced 128 English feet per annum, the middle 233 feet, 
and the upper part 246. The more rapid motion of the Glacier de 
Bois is, no doubt, chiefly the consequence of its greater inclination, 
especially at the lower end. Of the depth of the glacier of the Lower 
Aar, we have no very satisfactory account ; for Agassiz was unable 
to bore to a greater depth than 150 feet, and the depth obtained by 
sounding through a natural opening (" moulin") cannot be entirely 
depended on. The vertical height above the bed of the stream at 
the lower end (from d' to b, fig 8) was found by Agassiz to be 96 
metres, or 315 English feet. 

It has been shewn that various phenomena connected with the 
transportation and depositation of boulders are better explained by 
the glacier, than by the iceberg, hypothesis. The latter seems 
equally deficient when applied to the case of striated and grooved 
rocks. Granting that in certain circumstances floating ice might 
produce horizontal striae or groovings on even surfaces, how shall 
we account for the very common case of those groovings which in- 
cline downward, following the slope of the valley; or those occa- 
sionally seen which point upward ; or those traced on the curved 

312 Charles Maclaren, Esq., on the 

surfaces of hollow recesses, into which a large iceberg or floe could 
not enter ? The glacier, on the other hand, striates rocks under 
these various circumstances before our eyes. A more radical dif- 
ficulty yet applies to the iceberg theory. Whence did the water 
come on which the ice floated ? Shall we say, from the sea ? This 
would amount to the very bold assumption that the Alps had been 
submerged to the depth of 6000 or 7000 feet for many thousand 
years, and then raised up again, within the post-tertiary period ! 
Passing over other objections, the assumption is refuted by the fact, 
that the Erratic Formation, or " Terrain Morainique" of the Swiss 
plain, rests, not upon marine beds, such as the sea in its supposed 
long sojourn should have left there, but upon a stratified deposit 
called the " Alpine Diluvium,'' which in its upper part contains the 
bones of the existing Swiss Mammalia, and at the bottom those of 
Eiephas primigenius associated with fresh-water shells. Pictet, the 
learned palaeontologist of Geneva, holds that the formation of this 
Diluvium belongs to the modern or current period, that its fauna 
was essentially the same with the present one, no new species hav- 
ing been added, but merely a few having died out. He thinks, 
however, that the Diluvium of Switzerland is more recent than the 
deposits bearing that name in Europe generally. (Pictet, Memoire 
sur des ossements trouves dans les graviers stratifies des environs de 
Mategnin. Geneve, 1845 ; C. Martins et B. Castaldi, sur les Ter- 
rains Superficiels de la Vallee du Po compares a ceux du Bassin 
Helvetique, 1850). Perhaps it may be said that the icebergs floated 
on a natural lake. But if so, we ask, with Forbes, what were its 
boundaries, and where were the barriers which maintained a vast 
sheet of water at a level of 2000 feet above the surface of the coun- 
try ? " Such barriers cannot be pointed out, consistently with what 
is known as to the unchanged condition of the superficial deposit in 
Switzerland generally, since the period of the transport of erratics." 
On a survey, then, of all the facts known respecting the distribution 
of the Swiss boulders and the constitution and agency of glaciers, 
the evidence seems decidedly to preponderate in favour of Charpen- 
tier's doctrine, that the Alpine blocks found on Jura and in the 
plain were transported by glaciers. There are no doubt some dif- 
ficulties attending this conclusion, but these may be removed by 
future research. 

Ancient Glaciers 1 Rate of Motion. 
Several questions present themselves respecting the glacial period 
in the Alps, to which satisfactory answers cannot be given. We 
cannot tell what caused it, or how long it endured, or what length of 
time has elapsed since it ceased — that is, since the glaciers retreated 
from the plain to those higher valleys in the mountains which they 
now occupy. Agassiz thinks that a fall of mean temperature equal 
to 8 degrees centigrade, or 14£ of Fahrenheit, would give the glaciers 



,8181 tew 





rlguo'i jB [\A 

\ n9j od fcJ ,i A 


oJ onj3i9 

joib -i&bL 

\t ~ 

Erratics of the Alps. 313 

the requisite extension to carry the Alpine blocks to Jura, but the 
conclusion rests on hypothetical grounds. Charpentier holds that no 
unexampled intensity of cold is necessary, that 700 or 800 cold and 
wet years like those from 1812 to 1818, would be sufficient — an 
opinion in which probably few will join him. To determine the 
duration of the glacial period, it would be necessary to know the 
number of transported blocks, the distance which each travelled, and 
the velocity with which it moved — elements all beyond our reach. 
We are, however, able to say, that many of the blocks have travelled 
a hundred miles or more, and we may form a rude idea of the rate 
of their motion from data furnished by Forbes and Agassiz. The 
velocity depends mainly on the slope of the glacier, and its magnitude 
(or the area of its section), a greater slope compensating for a smaller 
sectional area, and a greater area for a smaller slope. On the most 
level part of the Glacier de Bois the motion at the middle was com- 
puted to be about 676 feet per annum. On the Glacier of the 
Lower Aar, Agassiz found that his tent travelled 64 metres (210 
feet) in one year, and a comparison of older with recent observations 
shewed that a block had travelled 8 kilometres in 133 years, or 197 
feet per annum (Martin's "Revue de deux Mondes" Mars 1847.) 
Anything like precision is unattainable, but 500 feet may be taken 
hypothetically as a rough average of the annual motion of the middle 
part of the ice (for the sides move much more slowly) in these two 
great glaciers. Now, in a great glacier extending from the Pennine 
Alps to Jura (P to/, fig. 10), the slope would be ten times less, and 
would go to diminish the rate of motion in some such proportion ; 
but the sectional area, or measure of size, being ten times greater, 
would have precisely an opposite effect. Assuming, therefore, that 
the one would counterbalance the other, let us suppose that the blocks 
travelled on the great ancient glacier at the rate of 500 feet per an- 
num. Then, by measuring the distances on Keller's map, we find that 
a block carried from the east shoulder of Mont Blanc to Chasseron 
(u or p to / in the map) would spend 740 years on its journey ; 
one from the valley of Saas or Nicholas (y) to the same spot would 
spend 1000 years ; and the huge boulder which made the w grand 
tour" from t to Steinhoff, near A, must have been 1600 years upon 
its travels ! It is true, the medial and lateral moraines do not consist 
of isolated blocks, but of rows or trains of blocks, generally pretty close 
behind one another. The first boulder dropped on Jura would there- 
fore have many others near and behind it, but still the depositation 
would be slow, for at the speed supposed, only as many as could lie 
on a length of 500 feet would be deposited in a year, and these 
spread over a considerable surface. We must remember, too, that 
the blocks from the Alps are scattered not only over the long line of 
Jura, but over all the western Swiss Plain, an area of nearly 3000 
square miles. Many thousands of years would evidently be required 

314 (hi the Erratic* of the Alps. 

for the threefold operation — of detaching the fragments small and 
great from the parent rock by the slow action of the elements — 
enabling them to perform such long journeys — and redistributing 
them over so wide a space. 

Traces have been found of the former existence of glaciers in Mount 
Jura, in the Vosges, in Wales, Scotland, Norway, and Sweden ; and 
there is no reason to doubt that the glacial period in all these 
countries was coincident with that of the great ancient extension of 
glaciers in Switzerland. The aspect during that long period, of all 
Europe northward of the Alps, or perhaps the Pyrenees, must have 
resembled that of Sweden in the gloomy months of winter. The 
genial powers of nature lay benumbed under a perpetual winding- 
sheet of snow and ice, covering mountain and valley, spreading death 
and hopeless sterility over the whole north, and the plains of Britain, 
France, and Germany, where flocks and herds now pasture, and rich 
harvests bloom, and mighty cities teem with millions of industrious 
men living in security and comfort. 

The question remains, " What length of time separates the glacial 
period from that in which we live ?'' To this question no definite 
answer can be given, but it may be safely said that the glacial period 
had passed away long before the appearance of Man upon the earth. 

to imti ; oonnoD oaofo oa ctfni {frirguoid 

1 iii Mworis— -jshoeiflcrl 

9lni odi — /roifto 9ift to noiiibnoo Lev 
Infusoria, the earliest Larval state of Intestinal Worms, 
according to Professor Agassiz. 

Although for want of time, says Agassiz, in a letter to 
Mr Dana, my investigations on intestinal worms have been 
limited, I have arrived at one important result. You may 
remember a paper I read at the meeting at Cambridge 
(America), in August 1849, in which I shewed that the em- 
bryo which is hatched from the egg of a Planaria, is a 
genuine polygastric animalcule of the genius Paramecium, 
as now characterised by Ehrenberg. In Steen strap's work 
on alternate generation, you find that in the extraordinary 
succession of alternate generations ending with the produc- 
tion of Cerceria, and its metamorphosis into Distoma, a 
link was wanting, — the knowledge of the young hatched from 
the egg of Distoma. The deficiency I can now fill. It is 
another infusorium, a genuine Opalina. With such facts 
before us, there is no longer any doubt left respecting the 
character of all these Polygastrica ; they are the earliest 

On the General Distribution of Iodine. 315 

larval condition of worms. And since I have ascertained 
that the Vorticellse are true Bryozoa, and botanists claim 
the Anentera as Algse, there is not a single type of these mi- 
croscopic beings left, which hereafter can be considered as 
a class by itself in the animal kingdom. Under whatever 
name and whatever circumscription, it has appeared or may 
be retained to this day, the Class of Infusoria is now entirely 
dissolved, and of Ehrenberg's remarkable investigations, the 
descriptive details alone can be available in future: the 
whole systematic arrangement is gone. , q l & \ m ^ 

This result has another interesting bearing ; for it shews 
the correctness of Blanchard's view respecting the Planariw, 
their close relation to the intestinal worms under the name 
of Trematoda. Indeed, they belong to one and the same 
natural group. 

Is it not remarkable that the two types of the animal king- 
dom long considered as the fundamental supporters of the 
theory of spontaneous generation should have finally been 
brought into so close connection ; and that one of them — the 
Infusoria — should in the end turn out to be the earliest lar- 
val condition of the other, — the intestinal worms being the 
parents of the Infusoria.* 

.siggAaA loagaloi*! oi \> 

~ r ax f xiae.B;gA sjm e 9mii 'to trusw ioi ngworfilA 

Vmiowkmtgotnino i ^Q 

On the General Distribution of Iodine. By Mr Stevenson 

Macadam, Teacher of Chemistry, Philosophical Institu- 
tion, Edinburgh. Communicated by the Author. 

The present investigation owes its origin to some observations 
lately made by M. Chatin of Paris, and communicated by him to the 
French Academy of Sciences. 

Chatin is of opinion that in the atmosphere, in rain water, and 
in soils, there is an appreciable amount of iodine ; that the quantity 
of this element present in one district, differs from that in another ; 
and that the relative amount of iodine in any one locality, determines 
to a great extent, the presence or absence of certain diseases. For 
instance, in the district of country which he classifies under the 
general title of the Paris zone, the quantity of iodine present in 

*j 1 1 1 : 

* Vide Silliraan's Journal, May 1852. 

310 Mr Stevenson Macadam on the 

the atmosphere, jn the rain water, and in the soil, is comparatively 
great, and to this he ascribes the absence of goitre and cretinism ; 
whereas in the zone corresponding to that of the Alpine valleys, the 
amount of iodine lias diminished to one-tenth of that found in the 
Paiis zone, and to this scarcity of the element, he attributes the pre- 
valence of goitre and cretinism, which in that zone are endemic* 
Considering that the subject was one of great importance, more espe- 
cially if the conclusions arrived at by Chatin — in reference to the 
functions fulfilled by iodine, in preventing the occurrence of the dis- 
eases referred to — could be legitimately deduced from the experiments 
which he performed, I have recently undertaken a series of analyses 
in reference to the general distribution of the element in question. 

My attention was principally directed to the atmosphere, and to 
rain water, both of which, apart from the observations of Chatin, 
I had reason to believe would contain iodine. It is well known that 
consequent on the evaporation of water from the surface of the ocean, 
portions of the salts contained in it are carried up, and disseminated 
through the atmosphere, ready to be rained down upon inland places, 
and that from this source iodine — principally as iodide of sodium- — 
will most probably reach the air. This constant supply will be fur- 
ther augmented by the iodine vapour which is disengaged from many 
mineral springs, and which, amongst other possible compounds, will 
more especially exist in the atmosphere as iodide of ammonium. 
Independently, therefore, of any experiment, I thought it in the 
highest degree probable, that iodine would be found present in the 
conditions referred to, viz., as iodide of sodium and iodide of ammo- 
nium, and it only remained to determine whether or not the quantity 
of iodine was so great as to come within the range of our most delicate 

I commenced with the atmosphere. The process ^followed was 
identical in principle with that pursued by Chatin. From statements 
made in different parts of one of his memoirs, it would appear that 
the apparatus he employed was a series of Liebig 1 s bulbs containing 
a solution of carbonate of potassa, and attached to an aspirator by 
means of which air was drawn through the liquid.-}- In the arrange- 
ment I employed, the air was made to traverse, — 

1. A wide tube, containing slips of paper moistened with solution 
of starch ; and, 

2. A double-necked gas bottle, containing three ounces of a dilute 
solution of caustic alkali. 

At the commencement of the experiment, caustic soda was placed 

in the bottle (2) and not less than 150 cubic feet of air drawn through. 

The soda was then replaced by caustic potassa, and a similar volume 

* (Jomptes ltendus, tome xxxiv., p. 51 ; and Edin. New Phil. Journal, No. 104. 
+ romptes Rendus, tome xxxii., p. 669. 

General Distribution of Iodine. 317 

of air passed through it. At the conclusion, the papers, over which 
300 cubic feet of air had been drawn, were carefully inspected, but 
not the slightest indication of iodide of starch could be detected, even 
when moistened with distilled water. The soda and potassa were 
separately treated with starch and nitric acid, and both exhibited the 
rose-colour characteristic of the presence of iodine in small quantity. 
At this stage of the inquiry, I entertained great hopes of being able 
to verify Chatin's observations ; but, on analysing portions of the 
original alkaline solutions through which no air had been drawn, I 
found iodine present in them in quantity, to all appearance, as great 
as it was in those portions of the liquids used in my experiments. 

The caustic alkalies employed by me, were therefore contaminated 
with the very substance I was searching for in the atmosphere, and 
it remained to inquire into the original source of this impurity. With 
this view, I tested samples of the carbonate of potassa, carbonate of 
soda, and lime-shell, which had been employed in the preparation of 
the caustic solutions, and in all three, iodine was present in percep- 
tible quantity. Desirous of making certain that the agents used by 
me were as pure as other commercial substances of the same kind, 
various specimens of each were obtained and submitted to the process 
to be afterwards detailed. The samples first tested were those 
usually to be purchased in Edinburgh and other places, but subse- 
quently genuine and authenticated specimens were procured from 
trustworthy sources ; and from every sample of carbonate of potassa, 
carbonate of soda, and lime-shell, which I have as yet subjected to 
examination, I have obtained distinct indications of the presence of 
iodine. It became, therefore, quite evident, that so far as the de- 
termination of iodine in the atmosphere was concerned, the experi- 
ments as yet referred to, were of no value, and that it was requisite, 
in any future experiment upon this subject, to avoid the introduc- 
tion of the alkalies, which so invariably contained this element as a 
foreign ingredient. 

Accordingly, in the next experiment the alkalies were dispensed 
with, and their place was occupied by nitrate of silver. The appa- 
ratus also was somewhat modified — the air being drawn through — 

1. A tube with slips of starched paper, kept somewhat damp. 

2. A gas bottle immersed in a freezing mixture ; and, 

3. A gas bottle containing a solution of nitrate of silver. 

To enable the condenser (2) to do its work thoroughly, and to 
guard against any of the liquid in the gas bottle (3) being carried 
away by excessive evaporation, they were buried in soil which was 
saturated with water. A continuous current of air was kept up for 
fully five hours, commencing at mid-day. At the conclusion of this 
experiment the papers were not altered in the slightest degree ; the 
gas bottle (2) contained about a quarter of an ounce of liquid; and 
the nitrate of silver (3) had not been perceptibly changed. The 
condensed liquid was neutral to test-papers — a drop of starch was 


318 Mr Stevenson Macadam on the 

added to it, and subsequently hydrochloric acid and nitrite of po- 
tassa, which together form a most delicate means of detecting iodine* — 
the result was negative. The nitrate of silver solution was cau- 
tiously evaporated to nearly a quarter of an ounce, a stream of sul- 
phuretted hydrogen passed through to precipitate the silver, and 
liberate as hydriodic acid any iodine which might be present — the 
liquid raised in temperature, carefully avoiding ebullition, and fil- 
tered. The filtrate, on the addition of starch, hydrochloric acid, 
and nitrite of potassa, did not exhibit the slightest trace of iodine. 
I therefore concluded, that in the large volume of air — upwards of 
300 cubic feet — which had been drawn through the arrangement, 
there had not been an appreciable amount of iodine, either in a free 
state (in which case the starched paper would have been acted upon), 
or combined with a metal or base (in which condition it would have 
been detained by the nitrate of silver, forming iodide of silver). 

The experiments referred to, were made at different heights 
on Arthur Seat, and their negative results led to arrangements 
being made for a trial on a larger scale. Through the kind permis- 
sion of the proprietor of Kinneil Iron- Works, I was enabled to pro- 
ceed to Borrowstonness and attach my apparatus to the receiver 
from which the air under great pressure is forced into the blast-fur- 
naces. By means of a stopcock fixed in the receiver and a long 
flexible tube, the air was conducted to the following arrangement : — 

1. A wide tube, containing slips of paper dipped in starch. 

2. A condensing worm, nine feet in length, surrounded by a 
freezing mixture, and attached to a receiver. 

3. A tall jar, containing chips of pumice-stone, and a few iron 
filings, with sufficient water to cover them. 

4. A similar jar, with pumice-stone, scrapings of clean lead, and 
a solution of acetate of lead. 

5. A condensing worm, nine feet in length, immersed in a freez- 
ing mixture, and attached to a receiver. 

By this arrangement it was expected that the first condenser (2) 
would retain the water, vapour, and salts, which the air experi- 
mented upon held in suspension, and should the accumulated liquid 
be sufficient to fill the tube, the excess would be projected into the 
receiver, and thus be kept from passing into other parts of the appa- 
ratus. The jar (3) was capable of retaining any free iodine, and 
was intended as an auxiliary to the papers (1). The chips of pu- 
mice-stone enabled the air, as it gurgled through the several layers, 
to come in contact with the reagents contained in the jar. The 
office to be fulfilled by the solution of lead in jar (4) in retaining 

* Quarterly Journal of the Chemical Society, vol. iv., p. 155. Dr Price 
says, " In this manner I have detected the frjfjwggtb part of iodine dissolved in 
water, as iodide of potassium. ' ; 

General Distribution of Iodine. 319 

any compound of iodine, will be at once apparent. The condenser 
(5) was intended to liquefy any watery vapour which might, during 
the experiment, be carried from the jars (3) and (4). 

The air, under a pressure of 3 lb. on the square inch, was allowed 
to traverse the arrangement for fully four hours, during which time 
upwards of 4000 cubic feet had been brought in contact with the re- 
agents employed. The apparatus was then taken asunder, and the 
contents of the vessels being placed in stoppered bottles, the whole 
was brought to Edinburgh for examination. The slips of paper (1) 
were not sensibly altered in tint, and did not betray the slightest in- 
dication of even a rose colour when moistened with distilled water. 
The condensers (2 and 5) contained each a very small quantity of 
liquid, which, on being tested, did not shew a trace of iodine. The 
contents of the jar (3) were thrown on a filter and washed with cold 
water. To the filtrate was added some drops of a solution of car- 
bonate of potassa, and the liquid thus rendered alkaline was evapo- 
rated to a quarter of an ounce ; no iodine was present. The car- 
bonate of potassa used in this trial was prepared by calcining cream 
of tartar at a white heat, and was so far free from iodine, that none 
could be detected in two ounces of a dilute solution, of which, in 
testing the contents of the jar, I employed less than half an ounce. 
There was, therefore, no likelihood of a perceptible quantity of iodine 
being added in the minute portion of alkali used, even though 
the analysis of the contents of the jar had shewn its presence. The 
jar (4) with the lead solution was treated in the same manner as 
described in a former part of this paper, when referring to the em- 
ployment of silver, and the result was also negative. 

Notwithstanding the large scale on which this experiment was 
conducted, I still felt disinclined to pronounce a decided opinion on 
the subject, and resolved to make another trial on a much larger 
scale than either of those yet referred to. Accordingly I fitted up 
an apparatus of a larger size and more durable nature., which was 
carried to Kinneil, and attached, as before, to the condensed air 
receiver. At this time the air was passed through — 

1. A capacious double-necked gas bottle, about two-thirds filled 
with distilled water. 

2. A wide tube, containing starched papers. 

3. A capacious gas bottle, containing pumice-stone, distilled water, 
iron filings, and a little sugar. 

4. A similar bottle with pumice-stone, and solution of acetate ol 

The object in passing the air through the distilled water was to 
load it with aqueous vapour, so that it should have less influence 
in causing evaporation of the liquids in 3 and 4. The sugar added 
to the bottle (3) w£& intended to prevent the oxidation of any pro- 
tiodide of iron which might be formed, and which decomposition 

y 2 

^>20 Mr Stevenson Macadam on the 

would have risked the loss of iodine."* The other parts of the 
arrangement need no comment. 

For six days the air unceasingly traversed the arrangement, and 
at the conclusion not less than 100,000 cubic feet of elastic fluid had 
passed through. I was unable to watch the experiment through- 
out the entire period of its continuance, so that, after securely ar- 
ranging the apparatus, and witnessing the commencement of its 
action, I confided it to the charge of Mr John Begg, the intelligent 
manager of the iron-works, who kindly took care of it till the close 
of the period mentioned. I then dismantled the arrangement, and 
transferred it to Edinburgh, where the results of the experiment 
were ascertained. The gas bottle (1) was destitute of liquid. At 
the lower part and around the sides saline matter in small quantity 
was attached. On rinsing with distilled water, this was easily 
washed out, and starch, hydrochloric acid, and nitrite of potassa, 
were added to it. No iodine was present. The starched papers (2) 
were not sensibly altered in tint. The contents of the bottles (3 and 
4) were severally tested, as in the previous experiment, and no 
iodine was present. 

From these results it was apparent, that in the large volume of 
air subject to examination, there had not been an appreciable quan- 
tity of iodine. Theoretically there is every probability of iodine 
and bromine being present in the atmosphere ; the latter in much 
greater quantity than the former; and it is only after such re- 
peated failures that I have come to the conclusion that the quantity 
of iodine in the atmosphere is frequently too minute for detection by 
the ordinary methods of testing. 

The weather during each of the experiments was favourable to the 
object I had in view. Several sunny days preceded each of the trials, 
and in general the wind was north or north-east ; in other words, 
blowing from the Frith of Forth landwards. The volume of air 
experimented upon was in every case larger than that used by Chatin. 
So far as I can gather from his papers, he employed 4000 litres of 
air at Paris, which contained jj-^ui of a milligramme of iodine. f 
This is equivalent to 880 gallons of air producing 30 o!ooo* u °^ a 
grain of iodine, or aVoVV'i'*^ °f a grain of iodide of sodium. The 
volume of air employed in the first unexceptionable experiment 
which I made, viz., that where nitrate of silver was used, was 300 
cubic feet, or about 1870 gallons, which, calculating from Chatin's 
observation;;, and considering the delicacy of the test I used, ought 
to have given satisfactory indications of iodine. In the first of 
the Kinneil experiments, 4000 cubic feet, or 25,000 gallons of air 
passed through the arrangement 1 , and this, according to the same 
standard, ought to have given very distinct proof of the presence of 

' Gmelin'e Handbook of Chemistry, Wails Translation, vol. v., p. 248. 
I Com p tee Rcmlus, tome xxxii., p. GG9. 

General Distribution of Iodine. oil 

iodine. In my last experiment, where I subjected to examination 
100,000 cubic feet, or 625,000 gallons, I ought at the same rate to 
have obtained several ounces of a liquid, every drop of which should 
have attested the presence of iodine. gfi t 

At the intervals which elapsed between the trial of these experi- 
ments, I was examining large portions of the rain Mater which fell 
in Edinburgh during this summer. I was careful not to employ the 
alkalies in any shape, although I was led to infer from Chatin's 
papers that potassa had been used by him* In the first experiment 
I added to three gallons of the water some ounces of a solution of ace • 
tate of lead. On standing twenty-four hours, a precipitate had fallen 
to the bottom, from which the liquid was drawn off. The precipitate 
was treated, as described in a former part of this paper, and no iodine 
was detected. As the iodide of lead is slightly soluble in wat'-r, and 
might have been present in the liquid which had been removed from 
the precipitate, this liquid was evaporated to one ounce, and after- 
wards tested for iodine, but none was found. A second experiment 
was tried with a similar volume of rain water, viz., three gallons, 
substituting nitrate of silver for acetate of lead ; a precipitate was 
observed after standing twenty-four hours, but neither it nor the 
liquid contained a trace of iodine. To a third quantity of twelve 
gallons, I added acetate of lead, and without separating the preci- 
pitate from the liquid, the whole was evaporated down to one ounce, 
and tested for iodine, but without giving a positive result. An- 
other experiment made with three gallons of rain water, which had 
been collected at Unst, in the Shetlands, and to which acetate of 
lead was added, gave also a negative result. 

The proximity of Edinburgh to the sea, the direction of the pre- 
vailing winds, and the falling of the rain used in these researches 
after somewhat lengthy droughts, all tended to make the rain water 
of the district in a condition highly favourable for the object in view. 
This remark applies with special force to the water received from 
Unst which had fallen in the immediate vicinity of the ocean. Cha- 
tin announces that the proportion of iodine in rain water is very 
variable. At one time 10 litres of water collected at Paris, gave 
one- fifth of a milligramme, and at another time, the same quantity of 
water produced half a milligramme. Did all rain water contain as 
much as the least of these quantities, then a very distinct coloration 
would be exhibited by one gallon evaporated to a quarter of an ounce. 
In my researches just detailed, three and even twelve gallons were 
found insufficient to give the faintest indication. 

So far, then, as my investigations on the presence of iodine in the 
atmosphere and in rain water are concerned, I am forced to believe 
that at the time I experimented, there was not a sufficient quantity of 
this element present in either, to respond to the delicate test I era- 

* Comptes Rcndup ; tome xxxi., p. 282. 

V2 Mr Stevenson Macadam on the 

ployed. At the same time I admit the possibility, that at other 
seasons of the year, and at other districts of the country than those in 
which I experimented, there may be an appreciable amount of iodine 
naturally distributed in the way referred to, and when time and 
opportunity present themselves, I shall not fail to continue my in- 
vestigations on this department of such an important subject. 

The locality being unknown to me from which the lime-shell em- 
ployed in the preparation of the caustic alkalies had been procured, 
I afterwards obtained specimens from Burdiehouse, Kirkcaldy, 
Charleston, and Bathgate, and examined them according to the fol- 
lowing process. To a portion of each was added about a gallon of 
distilled water, which was well agitated at intervals till it was 
completely saturated with lime. The liquids thus obtained were 
nearly neutralised with pure nitric acid, and separately evaporated 
to one half ounce. On being treated with starch, hydrochloric acid, 
and nitrite of potassa, distinct evidence was obtained of the presence 
of iodine in each of the four specimens. 

In a former part of this paper, reference was made to several 
samples of potashes in which iodine had been discovered experimen- 
tally. Altogether, I tested six different specimens ; two of crude 
potashes, one of them from the United States, and the other from 
Canada; two of refined, or what is ordinarily termed carbonate 
of potassa, and two of bicarbonate of potassa. They were all ex- 
amined in the same way. A large quantity of the salt was drenched 
with distilled water, cautiously raised in temperature and allowed to 
cool. This served to separate the larger portion of the carbonate of 
potassa, as well as any impurities present in the crude samples. The 
liquid containing the iodide of potassium, was transferred to another 
vessel and evaporated to dryness. The resulting salt was then 
powdered, alcohol added, raised in temperature, and filtered. The 
nitrate was again brought to dryness, the residue digested in a very 
small quantity of water, and the solution thus obtained treated with 
starch, hydrochloric acid, and nitrite of potassa. In each case, a 
very distinct coloration was obtained. The crude potashes contain 
in fact, a considerable quantity of iodine which decreases at each 

Six samples of soda ash were examined in the same way. Like 
the potash specimens, two were of the crude soda ash, two of the ordi- 
nary carbonate of soda, and two were bicarbonate of soda. The 
crude variety contains the most iodine, and the others less of this 
impurity according to the refining they have undergone. 

From the presence of this element in potashes, I am inclined to 
believe that it will be found more generally distributed in the vege- 
table kingdom than it has formerly been supposed to be. The pot- 
ashes from the States and from Canada, are principally the dried 
lixivium of hard woods, such as the maple and birch ; but whilst by 
much the greater portion is so, it is probable that the parties in 

General Distribution of Iodine. 323 

charge, are not very scrupulous as to the plants they employ, 
and do not hesitate occasionally to add all vegetable matter which 
comes in the way. It may therefore be objected to the statement 
that forest trees contain iodine, that the iodine found in the pot- 
ashes may be derived from succulent herbs and shrubs, and not from 
the trees themselves ; but this objection will be at once removed when 
it is stated, that in the lixivium of charcoal, I have found very 
distinct traces of iodine. The charcoal sold and used in this country, 
is principally oak, with a little beech, birch, elm, and ash ; and after 
obtaining satisfactory evidence that the ashes of these woods burned 
indiscriminately, contained this ingredient, I burned large quantities 
of the first three kinds, viz., oak, beech, and birch, and treated the 
ashes in the same way as the potashes. Iodine was distinctly pre- 
sent in all three. The amount of iodine in forest trees must be com- 
paratively small. When experimenting with potashes, one is apt 
to forget the small bulk into which a large quantity of timber 
falls, when the organic matter is expelled, and the saline ingredients 
are alone left. So far as can be estimated from the present quali- 
tative experiments, the relative quantity of iodine in forest trees is 
much less than that in succulent plants growing in marshy places. 

The constant presence of iodine in potashes will lead to some 
considerable alterations in the methods generally followed for the 
detection of the former, by a process which necessitates the use of 
the latter. The process for iodine in cod-liver oil, where potassa is 
added to saponify the oil :* that for iodine in sea-water where po- 
tassa is added to precipitate the alkaline earths :\ that for iodine in 
coal where potassa is added to the ammoniacal liquor for the pur- 
pose of fixing this element as iodide of potassium :\ and amongst 
others, that for iodine in soils where potassa is added for the purpose 
of more readily extracting the iodine from them,§ — must all be modi- 

For some time back I have also been engaged in collecting and 
testing a large number of plants growing in different places. Al- 
though it is now generally recognised, that iodine is a constituent of 
some fresh water, and even a few strictly land plants, yet still the 
volatilization of the iodine renders the success of such an investiga- 
tion so uncertain, that the names of few plants have as yet been 
published, in which iodine has been detected. The difficulty lies 
principally in properly burning the plants to ashes. When iodide 
of potassium is heated strongly alone, it volatilises, whilst if ac- 
companied by carbonaceous matter, carbonate of potassa is formed, 
and iodine vapour escapes. From experience, I feel certain that 


* De Jongh on Cod-Liver Oil, translated by Dr Carey. 

f Dr Schweitzer on the Analysis of Sea- Water as it exists in the English 
Channel, near Brighton ; Lond. and Edin. Phil. Mag., vol. xv., p. 53. 
\ M. Bussy ; Comptes liendus, tome xxx., p. 538. 
§ M. Chatin ; Comptes Rend us, tome xxxiv., p. 52. 

324 Mr Stevenson Macadam on the 

a great many of the failures to find iodine are to be attributed 
to this — and that not only in the analyses of plants, but also in 
testing for iodine in cod and skate liver oils, where the practice 
has been to add caustic potassa and incinerate at a high tem- 
perature. In such cases, notwithstanding that the oil probably con- 
tained iodine, and that it was certainly present in the potassa, yet, 
after examination, it has not been detected in the ashes. To avoid 
the loss of iodino thus sustained, Ohatin recommends the addition 
of potassa to the plant previous to incineration.* But this, whilst 
it will no doubt, to a certain extent, hinder the volatilisation of 
iodine, will not ensure its retention ; and moreover, the saturation 
of the plant with ordinary potashes, necessarily causes the addition 
of the very element that the experimenter is in search of. The only 
safeguard which I have adopted is to burn the plant in a chamber 
with a small quantity of air, and where there is little draft. In this 
process it can hardly be said that the plants are burned — the term 
should rather be that they are charred. They are then finely 
powdered, digested in hot water, and filtered ; the clear liquid is 
evaporated to dryness and subsequently treated like the potashes. 

In the following list of plants there are representatives from differ- 
ent districts and from different altitudes. In the majority of cases 
a large quantity of the plant was used in the examination, and so far 
as could be inferred from the depth of the rose or blue tint assumed 
by starch, the quantity of iodine in different plants was very 
various. But as no attention was paid to the weight of the original 
bundles of dried plants, or even to that of their ashes, I would re- 
frain from speculating as to any law which might regulate the in- 
crease or decrease of iodine in plants belonging to different natural 
orders, or grown in dissimilar situations. Moreover, there are a 
number of plants in which I have failed to detect iodine; and whilst 
it is probable that some or most of thern may be destitute of that 
ingredient, yet, considering the many ways in which so volatile a 
substance could have escaped, I propose to make other trials with 
those negative plants, before I announce their names, and the locali- 
ties from which I received the specimens worked upon. 

As having some connection with the subject treated of, I would 
intimate that I have obtained distinct indications of the presence of 
bromine in crude potashes. It is unfortunate that our tests for 
bromine are so much inferior in delicacy to those for iodine, that it is 
necessary to operate upon very large quantities before the indica- 
tions of the former element are distinct. There is no doubt that, from 
the presence of bromine in trees, it will be found in greater abun- 
dance in the more succulent plants ; but tho {aw trials I have yet 
made have been unsuccessful in determining its presence in any but 
the crude Canadian and American potashes. 

Comptea RenduS; tomo xxx., p 354 

General Distribution of Todim:, 325 

Table of Plants in the Ashes of ivhich Iodine is present. 

(A.) In the following Plants, hitherto unknown to contain Iodine, I have detected 

that element. 

Botanical Name. Locality of Specimens Examined. 

Ranunculus aquatilis. Dunsappie Loch. 

Stellaria uliginosa. lornni Langley well, one of the tributaries of the Leithen , 

Alchemilla vulgaris. Dry slopes at Grey Mare's Tail, Dumfriesshire. 

Chrysospleniumoppositifolium. Langley well, one of the tributaries of the Leithen. 

Galium verum. Cockburn's grave, St Mary's Loch. 
Achillea Millefolium. 19700'. l>o. do. 

Senecio Jacobaea. (1) Valley of the Leithen, and (2) Cockb urn's 

Centaurea nigra. V$E™rtl* ^the^' 

Vaccinium Myrtillus. Windlestraw Law. 

„ Vitis-idaea. Do. 

Menyanthes trifoliata. Duddingston Loch. 

Myosotis palustns. Do. 

Digitalis purpurea. Valley of the Leithen. 

Veronica Beccabunga. Ditches in the valley of the Leithen. 

Mentha sativa. Duddingston Loch. 

Empetrum nigrum. Windlestraw Law. 

Betula alba or glutinosa. Unknown. 

Fagus sylvatica. nl Do. 

Quercus Robur. Do. 

Juncus conglomeratus. Marshy places on banks or the Leithen. 

„ lamprocarpus. (1) Do. do. and 

(2) shores of St Mary's Loch. 

„ squarrosus. \ j £ (1) Do. do. and (2) do. 
Sparganium ramosum. 5 1 . ,, Quair stream, south side of the Tw<3ed. 

Putamogeton densus. Dunsappie Loch. 

Carex CEderi. Quair stream, south side of the Tweed. 

Equisetum arvense. Cultivated places on the banks of the Leithen. 

„ limosum, Duddingston Loch. 

Lastrea Filix-mas. Elibank, south side of the Tweed. 

Athyrium Filix-fcemina. Do. do. 

Asplenium Ruta-muraria. Valley of the Yarrow Lochs. 

Pteris aquilina. (1) Valley of the Leithen, and (2) Valley of the 

Moffat waters. 

Chara vulgaris. Dunsappie Loch. 

Sphagnum acutifolium. Windlestraw Law. 

Trichostomum lanuginosum. Do. 

Polytrichum commune. Do. 

Ilypnum rutabulum. Langley well, one of the tributaries of the Leithen. 

„ triquetrum. Elibank burn, south side of the Tweed. 

Usnea plicata. j Growing on trees of the natural order Coniferae, 

Evernia prunastri. j in Glenormiston woods, Peeblesshire. 

(B.) / have confirmed the presence of Iodine in the following plants, in which it has 
been previously found by other observers. The plants are, however, from different 

Nasturtium officinale. (1) Marshy places on the banks of the Leithen, 

and (2) Duddingston Loch. 
Iris Pseud-acorus. Duddingston Loch. 

Phragmites communis. Do. 

And in the ashes of Coal, representing the Flora of the Carboniferous era. 

326 Dr Davy's Observations on the 

Tho greater number of the experiments connected with this in- 
quiry were conducted in the laboratory of Dr George Wilson, to 
whom I am deeply indebted for the kind manner in which he has af- 
forded me every assistance in his power, during the whole course of 
the investigations. 

So)ne Additional Observations on the Superficial Colouring 
Matter of Rocks. By John Davy, M.D., F.R.S.S. Lond. 
& Ed. Communicated by the Author. 

In an excursion recently made into the wilds of Connemara, 
my attention was recalled to the superficial colouring matter 
of rocks, from certain marked contrasts of colour observable 
in adjoining rocks of the same quality, but differently situ- 
ated. These contrasts presented themselves most conspi- 
cuously in the beds and banks of certain streams, and on the 
shores of certain lakes, especially at and near their margin. 

Of the first mentioned, a good example occurs in the bed 
and banks of the small mountain-torrent which falls into 
Singalla Lake, immediately below Flynn's or Half- way- house 
(the designation on the map of the county Gal way) on the 
road between the town of Galway and Clifden. There, in 
the bed of the stream, on the same rocks — a variety of mica 
slate — at least four distinct colours are noticeable. Of these 
one is almost white, in localities exposed to the full force of 
the stream when highest and of most force, or when swollen 
after heavy rains ; a colour belonging to the rock in its worn 
and weathered state. Another is of a light red or reddish- 
brown hue, which appears on rocks in the middle of the little 
stream, such as are commonly under water, and where the 
water runs rapidly, — a hue owing, in this instance, to a 
slight deposition of peroxide of iron, constituting a superfi- 
cial stain. A third is black and glistening, noticeable more 
partially, in spots here and there, towards the margin of the 
stream, and amongst the pebbles in its marginal rocky hol- 
lows, — a colour resulting also from a superficial stain, but 
produced chiefly by adhering peroxide of manganese. An- 
other, the fourth colour, is also black, but with little or no 
lustre, occurring on the marginal rocks of the stream, sub- 
ject to alternations of wet and dry, according to the state of 

Superficial Colouriuy Matter of Rocks. 327 

the stream, whether high or low ; a colour, not like the two 
preceding, owing to a mineral stain, but to the growth and 
death of minute cryptogamic plants.* 

On the shores of the lakes of this pre-eminently lake dis- 
trict, the differences in the superficial colouring of the rocks 
are chiefly two or three, and depending mainly on the cryp- 
togamic vegetable covering. Black is the prevailing colour 
of the rocks, at the very margin of the lakes, whilst white, 
in many instances, is as conspicuously prevalent in the higher 
adjoining situations, out of the reach of water, when the 
lakes are at their greatest height. On the shores and islets of 
Derryclare Lake so distinguished for its beauty, and on those 
of Lough Inagh, a neighbouring lake, good examples are to 
be seen of rocks thus coloured ; the white by a lichen, 
Lichen lacteus ; the black by one or more of the lower cryp- 
togamia undergoing decomposition, and acquiring a peaty 
character, to which, in all of this tribe under the influence of 
moisture and a comparatively low temperature, there appears 
to be so great a disposition, as is indicated in the vast ex- 
tent of bog for which Ireland generally, and Galway espe- 
cially, is so remarkable. 

In the examples mentioned, the instances of the several 
kinds of superficial colouring are well defined, occurring to- 
gether. In other localities, occasionally only one colour is 
found predominant, as different shades of red where the rocks 
and gravel are stained by the peroxide of iron ; or of brown 
and black where they are stained both by the peroxide of 
iron and by the peroxide of manganese. Of the former a good 
example offers in the bed of the river descending through 
Glen Inagh into the lake of the same name ; and of the latter, 

* In the bed of the same rivulet, nearer the lake, where its course is less 
rapid, an example occurs of a conglomerate rock in the act of formation, which 
may be worth mentioning, — the pebbles washed down, and there resting, 
finding as it were a matrix in the clay into which they are cemented by car- 
bonate of lime. The induration of this conglomerate is not considerable ; but 
it is easy to imagine how it may be greatly increased, either by the deposition 
of more carbonate of lime, the proportion present being very small, only just 
sufficient to effervesce slightly with an acid, or by the action of heat, or other 
metamorphic agency. 

328 T)r Davy's db^v^lfs <:»< thr 

• n \ i r id i! x I abixo; < yd 

m the beds of many o£ the small streams emptying themselves 

into Lough Oured, and the Lake Singalla, '.. ., 

The methods by which I have ascertained the nature of the 
colouring matter, are of the simplest kind. I shall briefly 
mention them, as without such aids, merely by inspection, 
the quality of the matter imparting the adventitious colour 
could hardly be determined. The principal means I have 
employed have been an acid, — strong muriatic, the blow- 
pipe, and the microscope. Immersed in the acid, proof is 
afforded of the presence of black oxide of manganese by the 
solution of the colouring matter investing the pebble or frag- 
ments of rocks subjected to the trial, and by the evolution of 
chlorine ; and of peroxide of iron by a slower solution of the 
colouring matter, without the disengagement of chlorine, 
but with the production of the odour belonging to the per- 
chloride of iron in solution. Under the microscope, the struc- 
ture of the vegetable matter is distinctly brought into view : 
whilst by the blow-pipe, the former is either destroyed, or if 

the apparent structure be retained, it is as a skeleton in the 
._ rr . t9YJ8 to esoficJenmoiio oiO 'lovo'iori// ioi 

residual ash. 

'ICL oilj qj (iiclinn liiJLlo io 0'injxj\9o:fnoj 

I have spoken of the vegetable colouring matter being 

owing to cryptogamia in a state of decomposition, or of 
transition into peat. This is probably true in most instances. 
In some, the black hue may be produced in a different man- 
ner, if not natural and belonging to the plant, viz., by the 
entanglement of peaty particles amongst the green leaflets 
and fibres of the plants. Instances of the kind I have seen 
distinctly when examining the vegetable matter with a low 
power, as with a one-inch object-glass ; then, some portions 
of the plants have appeared of a healthy bright green, whilst 
others adjoining have been quite black. Indeed, in the ma- 
jority of instances, as seen under the microscope, the ap- 
pearance of the vegetable matter is not uniform, but more 
or less varied, a part only being black, — brown and greenish 
fibres being commonly intermixed ; though, as seen with the 
naked eye, the whole appears black. I may add in confirma- 
tion that the line used in fishing in these lakes had acquired, 
even in a few days, a grey discolouration. 

In a former note, I nave supposed the black stain imparted 

Superficial Colouring Matter of Rocks. 329 

by the peroxide of manganese to the rocks and pebbles in 
the beds of rivers on which it is found, to be owing to the 
precipitation of the oxide from its state of solution as a sub- 
oxide, on its becoming saturated with oxygen, and passing 
into that of the peroxide, after the analogous manner in 
which the stain by iron is produced in similar localities, and 
under similar circumstances. The further observations I 
have had an opportunity of making seem to corroborate this. 
The superficial discolouration of rocks from the causes 
assigned is, I believe, of wide extent, and consequently not 
unimportant, considered merely in relation to the aspects of 
nature. The mineral stains — the ochry of iron, and the rich 
black of manganese, may be expected to be seen wherever 
water impregnated with carbonic acid gas, — as all rain water, 
the feeder of springs, more or less is,— percolates through, 
before appearing at the surface, strata containing these 
metals in the state of suboxide. And the dark vegetable 
stain, that resulting from the partial and peculiar decom- 
position essential to the formation of peat ; may be looked 
for wherever the circumstances of average moisture and 
temperature of climate are favourable to the production of 
peat — a wide extent, comprising most parts of England, 
Ireland, and Scotland, and the greater portion of the north 
of Europe. These are not merely theoretical inferences ; 
they are in accordance with many observations made both 
in the Lake District of England and in the Highlands of 
Scotland, and in the former much extended, as to localities, 

L bniil 9JlJ TO 890fl\6J2fll . cBjIIiBjUT 9 ft J lO .8070X1 

since I made the first communication on the subject, pub- 
lished in a former number of the Philosophical Journal. 
As regards the dark discolouration from decomposing ve- 
getable matter, I may add that I have found it not only on 
rocks, on the shores of lakes and moors, where the circum- 
stances have favoured, but also on the sea-shore and on 
inland precipices, where there has been a growth and de- 
composition of minute cryptogamic plants. A good example 
of the kind may be mentioned as occurring in the neighbour- 
hood of Oban, at the entrance of Loch Etive, in Argyleshire. 
Specimens of rocks, so discoloured superficially as to be of a 
dead black, brought from thence, which I collected myself, 

3o0 On \ffl I>I<<r<> of the Poles of the Atmosphaw. 

some from the shore, within reach of the salt spray and 
occasionally washed by the waves, and some from a moist 
inland cliff not far from the sea, close to the town, examined 
in the manner described above, afforded similar results.* 
Lesketh How, Ambleside, 
August 30, 1852. 

^ , , , 1 , 

On the Place of the Poles of the Atmosphere ; and the Reid 
Theory of Hurricanes. By Professor C. Piazzi Smyth. 

This is merely a notice on some of the recent discoveries and 
generalisations, by Lieutenant Maury, U.S.N., on the motions of 
the atmosphere. It had been clearly proved by the extensive re- 
searches of Lieutenant Maury, that the trade- winds when rising at 
the equator, do not, as previously held, return to their own poles, 
but cross over to the opposite ones ; and thus traverse the extent of 
the whole earth from pole to pole, in a curvilinear direction, on 
account of the effect of the rotation of the earth. The whole atmo- 
sphere thus partakes of a general movement, the upper half moving 
towards the poles, and the lower towards the equator, or vice versa, 
according to the latitude of the place ; the former occurring between 
the parallels of 0° and 30°, and the latter between 30° and 90°. At 
0° and 30° two nodes, so to speak, of the upper and lower currents 
take place ; at the former ascending, and indicated by a low baro- 
meter ; at the latter descending, and marked by increased barome- 
tric pressure. At the point of 90°, the pole, or thereabouts, the re- 
volution of the currents and their change of direction for N. and S., 
and vice versa, with another node, takes place, and marked, Lieut. 
Maury thought, by a calm region, as the two nodal zones of 0° and 
30° most undoubtedly are. 

As to the place of this calm polar point, which we shall probably 
long want observations to determine, Lieutenant Maury did not 
place it over the poles of rotation of the world, but over the mag- 
netical poles, without, however, sufficient reason. Indeed, he 
much lamented that after the admirable developments made by 
Lieutenant Maury of the motions of the atmosphere, he should have 
thus brought in merely the name of magnetism to clear up one ob- 
scure point. Meteorology pursued on the system of strict mechani- 
cal and scientific inquiry was now disclosing a most interesting and 
understandable series of phenomena, and promised a legitimate har- 

* In some instances, the black hue which I have attributed above to the de- 
composition of the vegetable matter in transition to form peat, may be in great 
measure the natural colour of the species of cryptogam ia covering the rock. 

On the Place of the Poles of the Atmosphere. 331 

vest of more. But the history of this science in times past, points 
to so many occasions when rational trains of observation were im- 
peded by the gratuitous introduction of a magnetic or electric ele- 
ment, and thought to be needless thereafter, that the author sup- 
posed that it might be of some service to shew that there was no 
probability in the present case, either from actual observation or 
natural considerations, that such a force should be looked to for ex- 

1st, Of actual observation. The poles of any force should bear a 
certain known relation to the equator thereof; and if we find the 
magnetic equator coincident with that of the atmosphere, which may 
be considered as marked out by the line of equatorial calms, we 
might reasonably suppose a connection between their poles. But 
we do not. The mean positions of these equators are very different 
from each other, and are subject to such totally different movements 
through the year, that we cannot legitimately expect any nearer 
coincidence in their polar points. 

2d, Of natural considerations. Mechanical force may always 
be taken as the cause, and not as the consequence, of the magnetic 
or electric currents by which it is accompanied. Certainly in the 
case of an electrical machine, the electric spark may be made to 
produce mechanical energy, as shewn in knocking small light pith 
balls about ; but how incomparably less is this force to that em- 
ployed to turn the machine round in the first instance to produce 
the electricity. 

Now, the atmosphere enveloping and rubbing over the world, may 
be taken as a large electrical machine, and does produce electric and 
magnetic forces ; but these, although startling enough when wit- 
nessed by us, little pigmies of men, are of infinitely small moment 
compared to the force required to keep the whole atmosphere in mo- 
tion, and to overcome its friction and inertia. 

Again, with regard to the intensity of terrestrial magnetism, it is 
found with one of Gauss's large bars for determining the horizontal 
force, by being suspended by two wires separated in the direction of 
its axis, that the whole magnetic force amounts to less than 100,000th 
part of the weight of the bar, that is, the force or attraction of 

Similar experiments might be adduced, to shew that when a body 
is heated, though electrical currents may be produced, and may have 
a certain mechanical power, that yet the quantity of this is almost 
infinitely small compared to what might be produced by employing 
the heat directly.* 

Hence, there can be no reasonable doubt, that the principal 
movements of the atmosphere must be owing to mechanical and 

* For a detailed account of Lieutenant Maury's speculation, vide Edinburgh 
New Philosophical Journal, vol. li., p. 271 to 292. 

332 Hurricanes. 

theruiotic causes, and only the smaller features to electric and mag- 
netic currents. 

A parallel case of the proneness of men to run for an explanation 
to magnetism, occurred in the early history of the development of 
the laiu of storms, and has not yet, so far as I am aware, been dis- 
tinctly refuted by the public, or withdrawn by its promulgator. 

In Colonel Reid's first work (1838) on the revolving motion of 
the hurricanes, after having, in the earlier portion, detailed, in the 
most satisfactory manner, the laws of the phenomena, he gives, in 
the latter portion, a glimpse of a theory of them, or at least, details 
an experiment in which, on the surface of a magnetised iron shell 
representing the earth, a rotation in opposite directions was pro- 
duced in helices in either hemisphere of the ball. This was thought 
very interesting, as the hurricanes are found to revolve in opposite 
directions in either half of the world ; and it was further stated 
that in St Helena, where the magnetic intensity is small, hurricanes 
are unknown ; while in the West Indies, where hurricanes are so 
rife, the magnetic intensity is at a maximum. 

Here it will be observed, is no attempt to shew whether the 
magnetic power is sufficient to cause the observed effect, or has any 
power in that way at all, nor even to trace whether this particular 
coincidence at two points, in the tropical belt of the earth, prevailed 
at all others also ; and in the Colonel's last publication (1848) the 
question and the experiment are withdrawn altogether. 

When, however, we examine the subject more extensively, we find a 
pretty general rule to prevail all round the world, viz., that hurricanes 
are most frequent in the western parts of those seas where the trade- 
wind is suddenly stopped by the occurrence of land, and is unknown 
in the eastern part of the seas where it begins. Thus, not only is 
the placid climate of St Helena fully accounted for by being in the 
eastern position of the South Atlantic, but equally the similar freedom 
from revolving storms of the Cape De Verd Islands, the NW. and 
SW. coast of Africa, with California and Peru on the eastern shores 
of the Pacific. 

And again, while the West Indies are pointed out as likely places for 
hurricanes, so are Rio Janeiro, Canton, the Mauritius, and Madras, 
and, in fact, almost every place where hurricanes have been met with. 

The stoppage, then, and interference of the trade-wind, a purely 
mechanical question, is the cause of the hurricanes, and, accoiding 
to the greater or less force of the trade-wind, and the greater quan- 
tity of air struggling to get over the barrier, as observed in the case 
of water when a river is in a flood, or on a sea-coast at spring-tide, 
so are more numerous and more violent eddies found, and they re- 
volve in different directions in cither hemisphere, because the direc- 
tion of the parent trade-wind is also different in each.* 

* I have just met with an. at first sight, anomalous instance, in the account 

On the Ethnography of Akkrah and Adampe. 333 

These mechanical causes, we may be certain, are acting, and must 
have the chief share in the effects which we observe, and should 
therefore be followed out in all their consequences, before we attempt 
to introduce any problematical forces which cannot possibly have 
much, if they have indeed any effect.* 1 ^ h ™ <mnote\o um>5 orlj 
Gglorao'ic icfuq edi \d k^utei ^LtoniJ 

; A) g , c biQ , ff loaohO nT — _ 

Offa ni nnivfiif i :.hiad Qiti 

On the Ethnography of Akkrah and Adampe, Gold Coast, 
Western Africa. By William F. Daniell, M.D., 
F.R.G.S., Assistant Surgeon to the Forces, &c. Com- 

• J. 1 1 ,1 T?ll 1 ■ 1 CI ' L ] J S ni ^ nG 

municated by the Jithnological Society. 

to ni oy!oy9i oi bauol eus aansomnrl off* as ^mUyt&ftro ymtf 

3 fiW ii ffS^fBf^ fr ° m P - 13(K) dii0 E 

Architecture, fyc. — The towns and villages that lie scattered along 
the margin of the coast from Cape St Paul's to the Rio Sakkoom 
westward, exceed, both in size and population, those located in the 
inland districts. Rocky plateaux or projecting headlands, or emi- 
nences situated in the vicinity of the larger salt water ponds or lagoons, 
were the favourite sites of selection, evidently on account of the two- 
fold objects which their position commanded, viz., a ready access to 
the ocean, and a continuous supply of those marine products that would 
answer either as articles of food or of traffic. From a rude assemblage 
of fishermen's huts, they, in the course of time, became transformed 
into places of constant resort, by the progressive development of their 
commercial resources, and the gradual addition of new habitations, 
rendered obligatory by the influx of enterprising traders and other 
people belonging to the circumjacent countries. From the absence 
of any definite plan or system of arrangement, the erection of the 
towns was confined within very circumscribed limits ; the buildings 
being so compactly grouped, and in such dense masses as to occupy 
apparently but a small extent of ground. With the exception of 
the main thoroughfare and a few open clearances at irregular inter- 
vals, the streets were necessarily narrow, tortuous, and intricate ; 
the close proximity of the various domiciles producing a perplexing 

— — 

of a circular storm experienced by the American exploring expedition under 
Captain Wilkes in the neighbourhood of the Cape De Verd Islands, a similar 
latitude to the West Indies, but on the " wrong" side of the Atlantic, and 
moreover revolving with the hands of a watch, " wrong" also. But the parent 
wind in this case is described to have been SK, which explains everything ; 
and shews that the whole phenomenon is an affair of mechanical conditions in the 
currents of air at the place ; that these being reversed, the hurricane phenomena 
are reversed also, and that there is no magnetic or other virtue residing in either 
hemisphere, and compelling air to circulate in any particular direction by reason 
of its place. 

* Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Session 1851-2. 


334 William F. Daniell, Esq., on the Ethnography of 

diversity of bypaths, that, in similitude, approached the dubious 
windings of some mysterious labyrinth. Formed by the contracted 
spaces between the opposite walls and projecting roofs, their due 
ventilation and cleanliness was more or less impeded ; consequently, 
they always continued in a dirty condition, and were likewise subject 
to that fetid effluvia, generated by the accumulation of filth and other 
domestic refuse thrown out by their occupants, who, from a constitu- 
tional indolency or love of ease, were neither impressed with the 
necessity of adhering to any sanatory precautions, nor yet endea- 
voured to obtain the salubrity that would spring from the removal 
of such morbific agents. 

The houses are constructed of swish, a name bestowed on the com- 
positions of mud or other loamy soils, well triturated with water, for 
such appliances. In style of architecture they resemble the mud 
cottages which still prevail in most of the rural districts of England. 
The foundations invariably consist of small fragments of sandstone, 
embedded in an earthy cement, and elevated two or three feet above 
the ground, sloping obliquely inwards, so that the base may corre- 
spond to the eaves of the roof, and the rain, as it pours from above, 
may fall on substances sufficiently durable to resist its solvent effects. 
Upon this elevation the compost is placed in successive layers, each 
of which is allowed to harden in the sun previous to any further 
depositions, which continue to be superadded in regular gradation, 
until the height of ten or fifteen feet has been attained. Its covering 
is completed by a thatch specially provided for this purpose, whose 
close adaptation renders it impervious to the heavy torrents of the 
rainy season. The doors, framework, beams, window sills, and the 
neat jalousies fitted therein, are executed, with all other wooden fix- 
tures, by native artificers, after European designs, and confer an aspect 
both of modesty and comfort, which externally assimilates them to the 
humbler dwellings of more enlightened communities. They are usually 
built in an oblong or quadrangular form, having an unroofed court- 
yard in the centre, around which the different compartments of the 
household are distributed. Should the central area be of such magni- 
tude as to admit of its twofold partition, it is conveniently separated 
into an inner and outer yard by means of a divisional septum of swish. 
When this takes place, the latter is allotted to the slaves and family 
dependents, or portions of it are converted into cookhouses or kitchens, 
workshops, and other indispensable purposes. The rooms selected 
for the appropriation of the owner and his near relatives, have, in 
their internal embellishment, a greater share of consideration devoted 
to them than the others. The walls are whitewashed, and frequently 
adorned with coloured prints or coarse engravings, and with a scanty 
array of home furniture is sometimes intermingled a miscellaneous 
assortment of foreign articles of a more refined manufacture. An 
interesting question may here be mooted, whether the peculiar style 
of architectural configuration at present in vogue among these people, 

Akkrah and Adampe, Gold Coast, Africa. 335 

claims its derivation from primitive sources, or has been adopted in 
consonance to the dictates of modern improvements. The result of 
inquiries will go far to shew the probability of its being an innovation 
induced by some of those moral revolutions that have terminated in 
the entire subversion of all preceding conventionalities. It is a remark- 
able fact that the fetish-houses in every locality are of a circular 
form, which, owing to the arbitrary doctrines of their religious code or 
other conventional prejudices, have stood the test of centuries un- 
changed. Coeval in origin and in similarity of outline, the native tene- 
ments may be said to have conjointly descended down the stream of 
time with them, until the period when the transformation of the for- 
mer came gradualy into public repute. That such was the case 
there can be but little doubt, since, within the memory of existing 
generations, conical mud huts were known not to be uncommon in 
the suburbs of Akkrah, while in Prampram, Ningo, and other 
Adampe towns, they are yet to be seen in their pristine simplicity, 
though fast receding before the progress of what is now considered a 
more rational system of architecture. 

The residences of the white and mulatto merchants and the influen- 
tial natives, are erected on a much grander scale, and of more ex- 
pensive materials. Isolated from each other, their snow-like exteriors, 
and dignified altitude, soon stamped them as the most conspicuous 
objects of a diversified landscape, and presented at the same time a 
striking contrast to the low and dusky habitations by which they 
were surrounded. Composed of stone, hewn from the neighbouring 
quarries, and wood brought from the colder climates of the north, 
they, by a skilful subserviency of means, united strength and solidity 
with comfort and convenience. Built after the commodious plans 
so prevalent in tropical countries, by having arched balconies or 
corridors in front and rear, answering not only for pleasant prome- 
nades, but serving as a protection against the rays of a fervid sun, 
and likewise reduced to a mellowed softness the disagreeable glare 
and temperature that would otherwise pervade the internal partitions. 
These apartments are lofty, capacious, and well ventilated, and 
according to the affluence of the inmates, are provided with a suffi- 
ciency of domestic luxuries and other ornamental refinements, alone 
to be found in the higher coteries of civilized life. From two to 
three storeys in height, with flat roofs, they are in general of large 
dimensions, containing, independently of other quarters, various wings 
or enclosures, partially monopolized by the females, junior branches 
of the family, and their numerous attendants. On the first storey 
are ranged the reception, dining, and private chambers ; and on the 
ground floor immediately underneath, are those set apart for mer- 
cantile purposes and as depots for foreign and country stores. Con- 
nected with the main edifice are several petty outhouses or offices, 
the whole of which are encompassed by a strong stone wall, varying 
from 12 to 18 feet in elevation. Within this boundary admission 

z 2 

336 William F. Daniell, Esq., on the Ethnography of 

is only to be gained by means of a solitary entrance or doorway, 
sheltered by a porch fitted with wooden benches for the accommodation 
of those servitors who are attached to the demesne. Although of 
regular occurrence at Cape Coast, where the aboriginal tenements 
rise to the altitude of two storeys, here they seldom advance beyond 
the ground floor, save in a few instances which are to be noticed as 
exceptions to the general rule. Their compartments are mostly of 
limited dimensions, and are more or less filthy, from neglect and the 
accumulation of impurities. 

In proximity to Jamestown, Christianburg, aud Prampram, may 
be observed separate salt water lakes, each of which are distinguished 
by certain appellations ; those in the environs of the first two towns 
are recognised by the terms of Kuale and Clorte, and from super- 
stitious motives are deemed sacred. Of the three, that of James- 
town or English Akkrah is the most extensive. All teem with an 


abundance of crabs, shell-fish, and a species of small round fish ex- 
tremely prolific, the young fry of which are eaten with avidity ; and 
from their rapid reproduction, compensate the poorer classes for that 
deficiency in similar kind of food to which their poverty subjects 
them. To each of these towns is also appended a reservoir of fresh 
water, which, during the prevalence of the rains, is always filled to 
its full extent ; but from subsequent use and constant evaporation, 
the fluid eventually becomes diminished to one half, and for the 
greater part of the year remains in a stagnant and impure state ; 
nevertheless it is exclusively retained, from the facility it affords for 
personal ablutions and purification. 

Forming a direct communication between the three Akkrahs and 
the rural hamlet of Fredericksburg, are roads, maintained in excellent 
order chiefly through the exertions of the European residents. Por- 
tions of them are fringed at intervals by the tamarind, chashew, and 
other ornamental trees ; while in several of the suburban avenues are 
planted rows of the Hibiscus populneus and a species of Ficus or 
umbrella tree, so designated from the umbrageous canopy which its 
leaves produce. On the verge of the footpaths that radiate from 
the outskirts on different sides may be met the indigo, castor- oil, 
and cotton shrubs, with fences of Cacti and Euphorbce even as the 
magnificent Bombay flourishes amid the masses of human habitations, 
in conjuction with the tapering coco-nut tree, that waves its feather- 
like branches o'er the precincts of the same dwellings, as if in grateful 
acknowledgment of the tender nature which their protection yielded 
to its early growth. The streets and thoroughfares of the Adampe 
town and villages are stated to be much superior to those of Akkrah, 
being more cleanly, spacious, and of uniform width. 

Markets. — Markets are held on every day of the week, save on 
such as are dedicated to religious observances. The situations 
usually adopted are either at the entrance or termination of one of 
the principal streets adjoining some cleared space of ground, or in 

Akkrah and Adampe, Gold Coast, Afrh-a. 337 

localities habitually frequented by a concourse of people. Occasion- 
ally the stray exhibition of a few articles may be noticed opposite 
the domiciles of the vendors, or along the walls in the more secluded 
passages. Compared to similar places of resort elsewhere in Western 
Africa, they present an impoverished appearance, from the meagre 
pittances of food and other indigenous products which are offered for 
sale in such limited quantities. The whole are vended under the 
patient instrumentality of women and children, who, squatted in 
regular lines along the sides of the streets, or beneath the shade of 
the adjacent houses, dispose their effects to the greatest advantage, in 
assorted lots, spread out upon mats or in calabashes, around the spot 
on which they are stationed. These collocations of edibles and other 
necessary articles, for the most part comprise plantains, bananas, 
peppers, limes, oranges, ground nuts, Malaguetta pepper, native soap, 
pine apple, and other kinds of flax, tobacco cut in small pieces, ochros, 
dried and fresh cassada, kankies baked or boiled, and other prepara- 
tions of maize, pine apples, soursops, a few miraculous berries, 
shallots, palm oil, and shea butter, kola nuts, dried and fresh fish, 
smoked deer, and goats flesh, &c, with beads, earthenware, chintzes, 
ramals, guns, copper basins, and a variety of native and foreign 
cloths, suspended on lines attached to the different houses above the 
heads of the anxious dealers, &c. 

Harvest Festivals. — The great annual festival of the Akkrahs 
termed Homowavj, is one celebrated with much pomp and dissipation. 
Numerous and important are the ceremonies enacted on these memo- 
rable holidays, and multiform are the scenes that attest the vigour 
and exultation of their commemoration. By every family in town or 
country proparations on a proportionate scale are carried into effect 
long antecedent to the period of their commencement, which in 
general occurs early in the month of September, Friday being the 
day that announces their wished-for arrival. In the year 1850 the 
anniversary fell on the 6th of September, and the peculiar observances 
attending the initiation were of the same determinate character as 
those on previous occasions. The ordinary duration of these popular 
orgies seldom exceeds ten days or a fortnight (a week being the 
allotted term of fulfilment) ; but should a continuous supply of 
potables, and other accessory stimulants, be furnished, or as long as 
they possess the means to purchase them, their prolongation is 
carried on with undiminished vigour, until it finally ceases, from an 
exhaustion of their pecuniary resources. According to the reports 
of residents and other local authorities, this particular season has 
been consecrated by the blending of various religious and social 
rites ; a series of aggregate concessions that portray the worship 
of many barbarous races, when offering their grateful adulations 
to a Supreme Intelligence, not only for the benefits conferred dur- 
ing the past, but for the prosperous endowment of the approaching 
year. From the semblance considered to exist between them and 

338 William F. Daniell, Esq., on the Ethnography of 

those hospitable entertainments of Europeans in their own country, 
though at another season, it has acquired the designation of the 
Akkrah " Christmas." On Soah, the first day of its celebration, 
the Occhds and other influential personages of the town, bestow 
liberal donations of cloth, beads, and other desirable articles, on their 
wives, families, and near relatives ; and at the same time, transmit 
to their patrons and respective fathers-in-law a large log of wood, 
which to the latter is an acknowledgment of their consanguinity. 
The door-frames, window-sills, and other wooden work of the houses, 
are now partly covered with a red ochre, and in honour of the dead 
their family graves are equally adorned by the same florid colour. 
In former years a thorough purification of the houses, with other 
sanatory measures, appear to have been instituted ; but latterly, this 
and the preceding custom are imperceptibly falling into disuse, and 
doubtless ere long will become obsolete. 

During the continuance of this festival a remission of all public 
business occurs, and the daily avocations of the labouring classes are 
almost suspended, one predominant train of thought alone pervading 
every grade, both high and low, rich and poor, viz., the unlimited gra- 
tification of their passions, and an anxious determination to avail 
themselves of every opportunity for self-indulgence which this interval 
of jollity and relaxation can afford them. The men, dressed in their 
best attire, with fillets of cloth or twisted handkerchiefs encircling 
their heads, parade through the town in noisy communities, accom- 
panied with drum and horn ; and, as if mimicking the bacchanalians 
of old, exhibit the most equivocal dances and grotesque attitudes. 
The women, left to their own resources, assemble in picturesque 
groups, and, like the men, express a similar delight in the participa- 
tion of these enjoyments ; they also perambulate the streets, visit 
their friends and connections, and elaborately decorate themselves in 
their favourite costumes of silk and chintz. Gold rings and chains, 
fancy beads of every hue, bracelets, and armlets of divers construction, 
with the conspicuous aid of white and yellow figures or patches of 
paint, to ornament the features, contribute to gratify their self- 
esteem, and sufficiently testify to their love of finery, desire of con- 
quest, and that inherent vanity characteristic of the sex. 

Among the men, intoxication, committed to excess, from copious 
libations of rum, constitute in their estimation, the suinmum bonum 
of happiness ; and they who have not the means of thus distinguish- 
ing themselves, when passing abroad or elsewhere, conceal their 
poverty by carefully imitating the gait and erratic vagaries of their 
drunken compeers. In conformity with the primitive ordinances of 
the country, a species of large fish named Chille, caught at this 
period of the year, and until now prohibited from public use by 
the fetishmen, furnishes the chief constituent in their palm oil and 
other soups, being eaten with a certain pudding, or rather meal, 
termed Kou, made from ground maize mixed with palm oil and a 

Akkrah and Adampe, Gold Coast, Africa. 339 

few ochros. At this season these edibles obtain a temporary prefe- 
rence beyond others ; and since some care and trouble is lavished 
in their culinary preparation, they naturally become the favourite 
dishes, which all ranks seek and partake of with avidity. 

On Saturday or Hau, the termination of the old year, oblations 
are offered to the manes of their ancestors : portions of the preced- 
ing kinds of food being placed around their graves in the different 
compartments of the mansion.* Haughbah or Sunday is the most 
venerated, on account of its being the first day of the new year, the 
birth of which is ushered in by a strange medley of congratulations 
and laments, the latter more exclusively emanating from the female 
sex, who, with pathetic exclamations and a profusion of tears, bewail 
those members of the family who, during the intervening period 
between the past and present custom, have departed this life for the 
regions of another world. 

About this time the congenial rehearsals of feasting and dissipa- 
tion attain their zenith, and although their most disgusting features 
are seldom openly displayed, yet, within the walls and inner courts 
of the larger domiciles, the vociferous chanting, boisterous mirth, 
and clamorous bickerings of their intoxicated inmates, bear ample 
testimony to the dissolute revels performed therein. To the philo- 
sophical observer, these indications of moral degradation create 
melancholy reflections, and excite in him impressions of painful sur- 
prise, how a people like the present, after the lapse of so many cen- 
turies, should have so partially emerged from the depths of primitive 
barbarism, when endowed with these important advantages that 
accrue from an eligible position, fertile country, and the intimate 
alliance with more enlightened Europeans who have resided so long 
amongst them, and have constantly reciprocated their commercial 
wants for so great a number of years. 

The Tuesday following is a day more exclusively dedicated to the 
performance of certain religious ceremonies to which the natives are 
much addicted ; and as they are more or less interpolated with most 
other public festivities, they, in general, compose the most solemn 
and impressive portion of them. By all grades of people, therefore, 
a considerable amount of deference and awe is paid to these supersti- 
tious observances, inasmuch as they believe that some mysterious 

* A similar custom was observed by the Romans, on the celebration of their 
feasts, called Silicernia, in which food was provided for the dead, and deposited 
on their graves. It is alluded to in Ovid, de Fastis, lib. 2, 533, as follows : — 

" Est honor et tumulis. animas placate j>aternas ; 
Parvaque in extinctas munera ferte pyras. 
Parva petunt manes, pietas pro divite grata est 
Munere. non avidos Styx habet ima Deos. 
Tegula projectis satis est velata coronis ; 
Et sparsae fruges, parcaque mica salis : 
Inque mero, mollita Ceres, violaeque solutae." 

340 Defence of the Doctrine of Vital Affinity. 

potency originates from them, which has been supposed to exert a 
specific influence, either for good or bad, over the future career of 
those that become suppliants for their protection, or fail to offer 
the requisite degree of propitiation. The peculiarity of this mode 
of worship is chiefly characterised by ablutions of the whole body 
with water, which has been previously sanctified by the priests, and 
in which the leaves of some plant have been steeped either in the 
fetish or their own houses. To this liquid they attribute manifold 
prophylactic virtues, and, from its reputed efficacy, they imagine 
that exemption from death or other dire misfortunes is thus secured 
for the ensuing year ; through the interposition of the deity whose 
all pervading power they have submissively invoked. During the 
exhibition of these sacred observances, the fetishmen reap a bounti- 
ful harvest, as a compensation for their successful predictions, and 
the labours they now incur ; for when any individual, with his wives 
or children, require these abluent purifications, or become desirous 
of gaining an insight into the depths of futurity, the request is 
always accompanied by a regulated fee, proportionate to his position 
in the country. The prices, therefore, fluctuate from a few strings 
of cowries or bottles of rum to other articles several dollars in value. 
From the peculiar rites that characterise this day, it has obtained 
the appellation of the Sakkoom fetish-day. 

In Ossu and Labadde these holidays commence about ten days 
subsequently to those in English and Dutch Akkrah, and, like them, 
are maintained with equal energy and display. With the two former 
there is merely this difference, that the first day of their inaugura- 
tion is invariably held on a Wednesday, in conformity to the ancient 
regulations of these localties. 

Defence of the Doctrine of Vital Affinity, against the objec- 
tions stated to it by Humboldt and Dr Daubeny. By Dr 

The object of this paper was to fix attention on the great physio- 
logical discovery which has been gradually effected during the pre- 
sent century, of the mode in which certain of the elements contained 
in the earth's atmosphere, under the influence of light and of a cer- 
tain temperature, are continually employed in maintaining that great 
vital circulation, of which vegetable structures, animal structures, 
the air, and the soil, are the successive links ; and to point out that 
the most essential and fundamental of the changes here effected — 
particularly the formation of the different organic compounds in the 
cells of vegetables, — are strictly chemical changes, at least as clearly 
distinct from any chemical actions yet known to take place in inor- 
ganic matters, as the vital contractions of muscles are distinct from any 
merely mechanical causes of motion ; and justifying the statement of 

Defence of the Doctrine of Vital Affinity. 341 

Dr Daubeny, that there appears to be a " power, residing in living 
matters" and producing chemical effects, — in fact manifesting itself 
most unequivocally by the chemical changes which result from it, — 
" distinct, at least in its effects, from ordinary chemical and physical 

But after having made this statement, Dr Daubeny, according to the 
author of this paper, has thrown a degree of mystery over the subject 
which is quite unnecessary and even unphilosophical, by refusing 
to admit — and quoting Humboldt, who has changed his opinion on 
the subject, and now likewise declines to admit — that these changes 
are to be regarded as vital ; both authors (as well as several other 
recent English authors) maintaining, that as we do not know all the 
conditions under which ordinary chemical affinities act in living 
bodies, we are not entitled to assert that these affinities may not yet 
be found adequate to the production of all the chemical changes 
which living bodies present ; and that until this negative proposition 
is proved, it is unphilosophical and delusive to suppose the existence of 
any such power, as that to which the term Vital Affinity has been 
applied by the author of this paper and several other physiologists. 

In answer to this, it is here stated, that as we cannot strictly speak- 
ing, define Life or Vitality, we follow the strict rules of philosophy, in 
describing what we call living bodies, whether vegetable or animal, and 
then applying the term Vital or living, as the general expression for 
everything which is observed to take place only in them, and which 
is inexplicable by the physical laws, deduced from the observation 
of the other phenomena of nature ; that according to this, — the only 
definition of which the term vital admits, or by which the objects of 
Physiology can be defined, — Dr Daubeny has already admitted, in 
the expressions above quoted from him, that chemical as well as me- 
chanical changes in living bodies, fall under the denomination vital ; 
and as the rule of sound logic is *' afirmantibus incumbit pro- 
batio," — and as it is just as probable ct priori, that, with a view 
to the great objects of the introduction of living beings upon earth, 
the laws of chemistry, as those of mechanics, should be modified or 
suspended by Almighty Power, — this author maintains that we are 
as fully justified in referring all great essential chemical phenomena, 
which are peculiar to living bodies, to peculiar affinities, which we 
term vital, as Haller was to ascribe the peculiar mechanical move- 
ments of living bodies to the vital property of Irritability ; and to 
throw on the mechanical physiologists of his day the burden of prov- 
ing, if they could, that the laws of motion, perceived in dead matter, 
were adequate to explain them. 

In illustration of the importance, both in Physiology and Patho- 
logy, of this principle being held to be established, Dr Alison ad- 
duced two examples, first, the utter failure of the very ingenious 
theory of Dr Murray to explain, on ordinary chemical principles, 
the simplest and most essential phenomena of healthy Secretion ; and, 

342 Dr Williams on the Blood-proper and 

secondly, the now generally admitted inadequacy of any theory of 
Inflammation, which does not regard a modification of the affinities 
peculiar to life, and here termed vital, as the primary and essen- 
tial change, in the matter concerned in that process.* 

On the Blood-proper and Chylo-aqueous Fluid of Inver- 
tebrate Animals. By Thomas Williams, M.D. 

In this paper the author, as stated in the Official Report on it 
in the Proceedings of the Royal Society for March 1852, has accu- 
mulated numerous observations, founded upon dissection and micro- 
scopic inquiry, to prove that there exist in invertebrate animals two 
distinct kinds of nutrient fluids ; that in some classes of this sub- 
kingdom, these two fluids co-exist in the same organism, though 
contained in distinct systems of conduits, while in others they become 
united into one. The author proposes to distinguish these two 
orders of fluids under the denominations of the blood-proper and 
chylo-aqueous fluid. The former is always contained in definitively 
organised (walled) bloodvessels, and having a determinate circula- 
tory movement ; the latter with equal constancy, in chambers and 
irregular cavities and cells communicating invariably with the peri- 
toneal space, having not a determinate circulation, but a to-and-fro 
movement, maintained by muscular and ciliary agency. He then 
adduces evidence, derived from dissection, in proof of the statement 
that the system of the blood-proper does not exist under any form, 
the most rudimentary, below the Echinodermata ; that, in other 
words, the system of the true blood, or of the blood-proper, begins 
at the Echinodermata. The author then shews that below the 
Echinodermata, namely in the families of Polypes and Acalephse, 
the digestive and circulatory systems are identified, and that conse- 
quently the external medium is admitted directly into the nutrient 
vessels. He considers that this circumstance constitutes a funda- 
mental distinction between the chylo-aqueous system and that of the 
blood-proper, into which, under no conditions, is the external inor- 
ganic element directly introduced. 

He conceives that his observations suffice to establish the law, with 
reference to the chylo-aqueous fluid, that in every class in which it 
exists, it is charged more or less abundantly with organised cor- 
puscles. This is an invariable fact in the history of this fluid. His 
inquiries shew that these corpuscles are marked by distinctive mi- 
croscopic characters, not in different classes and genera only, but in 
different species, entitling these bodies to great consideration in the 
establishment of species. 

The paper then proceeds to demonstrate the proposition, that in 

t Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Session 1851-2. 

Chylo-aqueous Fluid of Invertebrate Animals. 343 

those classes, as in the Echinodermata, Entozoa, and Annelida, in 
which, in the adult animal, these two orders of fluids coexist, though 
distinct, in the same individual, there prevails between them, as re- 
spects their magnitude or development, an inverse proportion : that 
while, as instanced in the Echinoderms, the chylo-aqueous fluid filling 
the ciliated space between the stomach and integument is consider- 
able in volume, the blood-proper and its system are little evolved ; 
that while, as in the Entozoa, the chylo-aqueous fluid is still the 
most important fluid element in the organism, the blood system is 
proportionally rudimentary ; that in the Annelida, especially the 
higher species of that class, the chylo-aqueous fluid almost disap- 
pears, while the system of the true blood acquires, illustrating the 
law of inverse proportion, a correspondingly augmented development. 
The author then states, that the system of the chylo-aqueous fluid 
does not exist in the adult, but only in the larva state of the higher 
members of the articulated series, such as the Myriapoda, Insecta, 
and Crustacea. 

In myriapods and insects, he has observed that the peritoneal 
space is occupied by a fluid which does not communicate with, and 
is distinct in composition from, the contents of the true bloodvessels. 

This peritoneal fluid, however, in these classes, disappears at a 
subsequent stage of growth. Thus the author thinks, that a con- 
tinuous chain through the medium of the fluids, is established be- 
tween the Echinoderms at one extreme, and the Crustacea at the 
other. These classes he proposes to connect together under the de- 
signation of the double fluid series, corresponding to the radiate and 
articulate series of systematic zoologists. 

Returning to the standard of the Echinoderms, where the system 
of the blood-proper first' appears in the zoological scale, he shews 
that at this point the Molluscan chain diverges from the radiate and 
articulate chain, and may be indicated in contradistinction from the 
latter, as the single-fluid series. The author's observations lead him 
to believe, with Professor Milne-Edwards, that in all Molluscs, from 
the Tunicata to the Cephalopods, the chamber of the peritoneal is 
continuous with the channels of the circulation, and that consequently 
the fluids observed in these parts, are one and the same fluid, esta- 
blishing the singleness of the fluid system of the body ; and this con- 
clusion is corroborated by additional evidence drawn from micro- 
scopic examinations. 

He then recapitulates the results of his researches, and maintains 
that the base of the invertebrated kingdom of animals is formed of 
all those inferior series which rank below the Echinoderms ; and that 
this series is distinguished from the Molluscan, in which also the 
fluid system is single, by the important circumstance that in the 
former, unlike the Mollusca, the digestive and circulatory systems are 
identified, or confounded into a single system ; that at the Echino- 
derms, the series divaricates into the double-fluid series and single- 

344 The Future of Geology. 

fluid series, the former coinciding with the radiate and articulate 
class, and joining the Vertebrata through the Crustacea ; the latter 
running parallel with the Molluscan order, and connecting itself to 
the Vertebrata through the Cephalopods. 

The fluids of the zoophytic series are invariably corpusculated, 
but the corpuscles cannot yet be reduced to any definite type of con- 
formation. In the Medusan series, these bodies become more de- 
finitively organised. The author then demonstrates, that through- 
out the whole radiate and articulate classes, wherever it is found, the 
chylo-aqueous fluid is richly corpusculated, or in other words, charged 
with floating morphotic elements, which, from the constancy of their 
characters in different species, become grounds for specific distinc- 
tions. It is stated, that, throughout the Echinoderms, Entozoa, and 
Annelida, in which, even in the adult animal, the blood-proper and 
the chylo-aqueous fluid, though separate, coexist, the latter fluid only 
is corpusculated, the true blood being invariably limpid and perfectly 
fluid (incorpusculated), and almost always the seat of the colour, 
the latter existing as a substance dissolved in the fluid : while in no 
instance does colour develop itself in the chylo-aqueous fluid. 

The paper then shews, that at the point where the chylo-aqueous 
system disappears, namely, at the Myriapods, the true blood be- 
comes the vehicle of the corpuscles. 

And lastly, the author adduces a great variety of observations in 
confirmation of the statement, that throughout the whole Molluscan 
series without exception, coinciding with his " single-fluid series" 
the fluids are richly charged with corpuscles. 


The Future of Geology. 

A system in Geology is like a genus in Zoology and Botany, — an 
arbitrary division for one person, an attempt to express a natural group 
for another and more philosophical head. It is consequently a term 
of very different value in the writings of one geologist, to that which 
it enjoys in the works of another. What one calls a formation, his 
neighbour calls a system. Yet each, if he be aiming, as we presume is 
the purpose in most instances, at the establishment of a natural group 
in time, is really treating of the same order of thing, with a differ- 
ence only in degree. It would be desirable, doubtless, that we should 
have one uniform terminology ; but the ago is not ripe for such an 
invention yet. We are working towards it, but must not hurry. An 
idea is gradually being evolved out of the efforts at the discovery 
and defining of geological subdivisions. It is the idea of fades. The 
faunas and floras that have succeeded each other, interlacing in their 
succession, during the course of geological ages, exhibited from time 
to time peculiar combinations of forms, affinities, and analogies, which, 

The Future of Geology. 345 

taken in their totality, imprinted a recognisable fades on each as- 
semblage of organisms — on the population of the earth and sea during 
successive epochs or groups of ages. When a paleontologist is shewn 
a number of unknown fossils from a distant and unexplored country, 
he recognises almost instinctively an aspect in the collection which 
induces him to declare them, with little hesitation, to be palaeozoic, 
or oolitic, or whatever the term may be. The pure geologist seizes 
with avidity on this determination, and assigns to the rocks from 
whence the specimens have been obtained a definite position in his 
scale of formations. If the naturalist recognise a previously deter- 
mined species, his colleague is the more certain of his decision, and 
from the shell or plant, or coral, that is known, decides upon the 
age of the rock and region that are unknown. Nevertheless, it is 
more than questionable whether identity of species in two or more 
very distant localities should imply synchronism of age of the strata 
wherein they occur ; indeed, it is less than improbable that the in- 
ference drawn from the fact should be exactly the reverse. If so, 
what becomes of the hard horizontal lines drawn on our tables and 
diagrams between systems and formations ? They have been as- 
sumed, it is true, from the consideration of facts — but facts of a local 
character, and important only in connection with limited regions. In 
reality we are often endeavouring to apply a scale which, in its sub- 
divisions, is true only in Britain and part of Europe, to the whole 
world. The procrustean operation has been too often performed by 

Regarding, then, the geological scale of formations as an artificial 
scheme, founded on local considerations, although an instrument and 
standard of comparison of great value when used judiciously, the 
questions have still to be answered, which demand whether the terms 
of its graduation be required, and whether, such as we have them, 
they are complete. There are reasons for believing that they are 
far from being so, and that future research will intercalate many 
unrecognised stages. 

See those broad stripes of demarcation painted on every geological 
diagram between the terms palaeozoic and secondary, secondary and 
tertiary. Those lines are popularly understood to mark the boundaries 
between a complete cessation of one great system of types of species, 
and the commencement of an entirely new series of creatures, animal 
and vegetable. They really mark prodigious gaps in our knowledge 
of the sequence of formations and the procession of life. One of 
those supposed impassable barriers or boundaries, that between 
«{ tertiary" and "cretaceous," threatens rapidly to give way, and to 
vanish in due time as speedily as artificial social distinctions in society. 
In France, in Germany, in Belgium, in England, there are symptoms 
of an intergrowth between the long-separated " chalk" and " eocene." 
Strata are coming to light which rudely insist on finding elbow- 
room among our neatly-packed systems and formations. Janus-like 

346 The Future of Geology. 

fossils are turning up with two sets of features. Our preconceived 
notions of what ought to be, are sadly disconcerted. An already ex- 
tensive terminology is threatened with an inundation of new terms, 
too necessary to be evaded. 

If we are not greatly mistaken, there are little clouds rising on 
the geological horizon that indicate revolutions elsewhere in the series. 
That narrow black line drawn on geological diagrams between the 
words " Trias" and u Permian" has more meaning in it than its thin 
dimensions indicate. The line between " Eocene" and " Cretaceous" 
has swollen out, broken up, and is enlarging fast into intermediate 
sections. But all its changes and increase will be as nothing com- 
pared with those which must take place by and by, in its representa- 
tive lower down. If we interpret aright the signs indicated by extinct 
organisms preserved to us in palaeozoic rocks, and the comparison of 
them with others contained in the lowest mesozoic or secondary strata, 
there is a gap in our knowledge of the succession of formations, the 
extent of which it is almost disheartening to think upon. Although 
the palaeozoic fauna and flora are assuredly portions of the same 
unique system of organised nature with the assemblages of creatures 
of after-date in time, they exhibit differences in detail so great that, 
on superficial consideration, we might almost be inclined to regard 
them as belonging to some other world than our own. These dif- 
ferences are such as at present set all our calculations respecting the 
climatal conditions of the primeval (palaeozoic) epochs at defiance. 
But that these oldest of creations were linked with those that came 
after, and those amidst which we live, is evident in the number of 
generic types common to all, and expressed yet more strongly in the 
presence of straggling representatives of types of life, characteristically 
palaeozoic, among the very lowermost strata of the secondary period. 
All analogy, however, teaches us that there is a graduation of one geo- 
logical epoch into another ; and every day's advance in research goes 
to confirm this belief. The facts to which we have alluded indicate 
evidences of such a graduation of palaeozoic into secondary. But the 
stages of that graduation, the intermediate formations, have not yet 
been discovered. Calculating from the amount of the blank in the 
series of organised types, there must have been a vast interval of 
time intervening between the Permian and Triassic epochs, during 
which, doubtless, sediments were being deposited in seas, sea-beds 
upheaved, animals and plants flourishing, generations and genera- 
tions, nay more, creations and creations (we use the popular and 
hypothetical term, for want of a better), appearing, succeeding, and 
disappearing ; and yet of all these mineral accumulations, and or- 
ganised assemblages, there has not been as yet a fragment found. 

" They are but ill discoverers," wrote Lord Bacon, " that think 
there is no land when they can see nothing but sea. 1 ' Columbus 
had fewer signs to warrant his belief in a new continent than we 
have to indicate an unexplored, and as yet unseen, geological world. 

The Future of Geology. 347 

Such signs cannot be dissipated by any appeal to the series of strata 
already investigated. The answer to that appeal would be favour- 
able to our hypothesis : moreover, in the present state of our know- 
ledge of comparative geology, it would be folly to claim infallibility 
for geological scales founded upon the examination, partly minute, 
partly superficial, of regions chiefly confined to the land of the 
northern hemisphere. If we jot out on the map of the world those 
portions which have been sufficiently examined, at once palseontolo- 
gically and geologically, the space covered by our ink makes but a 
poor show ; yet only about such districts can we lay claim to suffi- 
cient knowledge, — if, indeed, knowledge be ever sufficient. Our 
hope lies in the rapidly-advancing progress of comparative geology, 
especially through the aid and sure operations of organised surveys. 
All over Europe, such surveys are in progress, or about to com- 
mence, sanctioned, as they ought to be, by governments of every 
shade of opinion. 

Some three or four years ago it was publicly declared that the 
geology of England was completed ; a plausible announcement, since 
almost every corner of the country had been subjected to the tramp 
and hammers of geologists. Yet, if we are not greatly mistaken, 
even the geology of England has still to be done. It is ably sketched 
out ; portions of it have been developed with skill and ability ;* but 
by far the greater part will yield a luxuriant harvest of discovery 
to those able and willing to enter upon the task. Compare any 
sheet of the Ordnance map of England, after it has been re-issued, 
with the geology laid down upon it by the Government surveyors, with 
any pre-existing geological map of the district, and see there what 
an amount of fresh detail has been educed by the patient labour and 
unhurried explorations of those geologists to whom, under the su- 
perintendence of Sir Henry de la Beche, the work is due. The 
economical value of geological researches depends mainly on such 
works. The nearer we come to geologizing by square miles or 
leagues the more interesting will be the results of our labours. 
Ages, however, must elapse before we can hope to obtain similar re- 
sults from all countries of the earth. And yet until we do, not even 
the geology of England, small though it be, can fairly be said to be 
completed ; for not until we have obtained a full and minute know- 
ledge of comparative geology, can we understand clearly one-half 
the facts and phenomena exhibited in the structure of any country, 
however limited, in the world. — Vide Westminster Review, July 
1852, for further expansion of this topic. 

* The geognostical characters of the Old Red Sandstone, the so-called De- 
vonian or Caledonian group, — of the Greywacke or Silurian system, — of the 
Clay Slate or Cambrian system, are still under discussion in England. — Editor. 


Divisibility of Matter. 

Many years ago, a curious calculation was made by Dr 
Thomson, to shew to what degree matter could be divided, 
and still be sensible to the eye. He dissolved a grain of 
nitrate of lead in 500,000 grains of water, and passed through 
the solution a current of sulphuretted hydrogen, when the 
whole liquid became sensibly discoloured. Now a grain of 
water may be regarded as being about equal to a drop of that 
liquid, and a drop may be easily spread out so as to cover a 
square inch of surface. But under an ordinary microscope, 
the millionth of a square inch may be distinguished by the eye. 
The water, therefore, could be divided into 500,000,000,000 
parts. But the lead in a grain of nitrate of lead weighs 062 
grain ; an atom of lead accordingly cannot weigh more than 
3io7ooo;oopobth of a grain, while the atom of sulphur, which 
in combination with the lead rendered it visible, could not 
weigh more than 2,015,000,000,000 ? that is the two billionth part of 
a grain. 

But what is a billion, or rather, what conception can we 
form of such a quantity l We may say that a billion is a 
million of millions, and can easily represent it thus : — 
1,000,000,000,000. But a schoolboy's calculation will shew 
how entirely the mind is Incapable of conceiving such num- 
bers. If a person were able to count at the rate of 200 in 
a minute, and to work without intermission twelve hours in 
the day, he would take to count a billion 6,944,444 days, or 
19,025 years 319 days. But this may be nothing to the divi- 
sion of matter. There are living creatures so minute, that 
a hundred millions of them might be comprehended in the 
space of a cubic inch. But these creatures, until they are 
lost to the sense of sight, aided by the most powerful in- 
struments, are seen to possess organs fitted for collecting 
their food, and even capturing their prey. They are, there- 
fore, supplied with organs, and these organs consist of tis- 
sues nourished by circulating fluids, which circulating fluids 
must consist of parts or atoms, if we please so to term them. 
In reckoning the size of such atoms, we must speak not of 

On the Detection of Fluorine. 3 ±9 

billions, but perchance of billions of billions. And what is a 
billion of billions 1 The number is a quadrillion, and can be 
easily represented, thus: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000; 
and the same schoolboy's calculation may be employed to shew- 
that to count a quadrillion at the rate of 200 in the minute, would 
require all the inhabitants of the globe, supposing them to be a 
thousand millions, to count incessantly for 19,025,875 years, or 
for more than 3000 times the period for which the human 
race has been supposed to be in existence. — Professor Low. 

, . 

On two New Processes for the detection of Fluorine when 
accompanied by Silica ; and on the presence of Fluorine 
in Granite, Trap, and other Igneous Rocks, and in the 
Ashes of Recent and Fossil Plants. By George Wil- 
son MD* 

In several communications made to this Society and to the 
British Association, I have announced the results of a series 
of observations on the distribution of Fluorine throughout 
the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms. To myself, 
the least satisfactory part of these investigations has been 
the inquiry into the presence of fluorine in plants, for I have 
been more frequently foiled than successful in my attempts 
to detect it in them. Others have not, apparently, been 
more successful. Daubeny was as unable as Sprengel at an 
earlier period had been, to obtain evidence that the element 
under notice is present in vegetable structures ; and Will of 
Giessen, the discoverer of fluorine in plants, speaks only of 
"traces" of it having been detected in barley. Later ob- 
servers have not spoken more confidently concerning its 
abundance in vegetables ; and in the many analyses of the 
ashes of plants which have recently been published, it sel- 
dom, if ever, finds a place. 

That one cause of this apparent rarity of fluorine in vege- 
tables, is the small extent to which it occurs in them is cer- 
tain ; but I have never doubted that the chief reason why it 

* Read before the Royal Society of Edinburgh, April 19, 1852. 
VOL. LIU. NO. CVI. — OCTOBER 1852. 2 A 

350 Dr George Wilson on the Detection of Fluorine 

appeared to be so scanty a constituent of plants, was its 
occurrence along with silica, which makes its recognition 
very difficult. I had given up, accordingly, all hopes of satis- 
factorily demonstrating its wide distribution, till better pro- 
cesses than are at present in use, were devised for its detec- 
tion when accompanied by silica. 

For the same reason I have thought it hitherto useless to 
endeavour to trace back fluorine from the plants, animals, 
natural waters, and the more accessible strata which are the 
main seats of life at the present day, to those earlier rocks 
and geological formations which have furnished our soils, 
and have contributed the chief soluble matters which are 
found in the lakes, rivers, and seas of the globe. The more 
ancient rocks abound in silica, and, with our present pro- 
cesses, the prospect of discovering fluorine in trap and simi- 
lar siliceous masses, was not encouraging. A representation, 
however, from Professor Jameson, as to the importance at- 
taching to the detection of fluorine in the most ancient rocks, 
led me to reconsider the geological and mineralogical interest 
which the inquiry possessed ; and within the last six weeks 
I have put in practice two methods of investigation, which I 
shall now explain. 

The processes at present in use for the separation of fluo- 
rine from silica, are in many respects satisfactory ; but they 
imply the rejection of glass apparatus, and the use of vessels 
of platina, which, from their costliness, cannot be employed 
of any considerable size, and, from their opacity, render the 
observation of phenomena occurring within them impossible. 
They are thus inadmissible for operations where large quan- 
tities of materials must be dealt with : and to the impossibi- 
lity of employing glass and porcelain vessels, must be largely 
attributed the comparatively limited extent of our informa- 
tion as to the distribution of fluorine. 

The following processes, which, in the meanwhile, are 
offered only as qualitative (although I hope to succeed Jn 
rendering the second of them quantitative), may be carried 
on in the ordinary glass and porcelain vessels of the labora- 
tory, and admit of everything visible being observed. They 
are applicable to all siliceous compounds or mixtures contain- 

ivhen accompanied by SI Ilea. 35 L 

ing fluorine, provided it be present in the form of a fluoride 
which admits of decomposition by oil of vitriol at its boiling 
point. The first stage of the process consists, in both cases, 
in heating the silicated fluoride in a flask along with strong 
sulphuric acid, so as to occasion the evolution of the fluoride 
of silicon, Si F 3 . This gas is conducted by a bent tube into 
water, where it deposits a portion of gelatinous silica ; and 
the liquid, after filtration (which, however, is not essential), 
is treated as follows : — 

In the first process, I adopted one of Berzelius' well-known 
methods for the isolation of silicon. The filtered liquid was 
neutralised with potass : and the resulting gelatinous preci- 
pitate of fluoride of silicon and potassium (2 Si F 3 + 3 KF), 
after being washed, was dried, and transferred to a small 
metallic crucible, in which it was heated with potassium, so 
as to separate and set free the silicon, and convert the whole 
of the fluorine into fluoride of potassium. This fluoride was 
then dissolved out by water, evaporated to dryness, and 
treated in the ordinary way with oil of vitriol, so as to evolve 
hydrofluoric acid, which could be made to record its evolu- 
tion by the etching which its vapour occasioned on a plate of 
waxed glass, with lines written on it through the wax. 

This process is necessarily tedious, and is liable to several 
objections. The most serious of these is the impossibility 
of effecting the complete decomposition of the fluoride of 
silicon and potassium, by potassium, so as to liberate the 
whole of the silicon ; and the risk of the latter undergoing 
oxidation into silica during the washing of the ignited mass. 
Accordingly, though this method gives good results, and has 
enabled me to detect fluorine in coal, in which I could not 
previously detect more than the faintest traces of it, yet it 
almost unavoidably necessitates a loss of the element in 
question, and is much inferior in simplicity and certainty to 
the process which I am about to describe. 

In the second process, as in the first, the substance under 
examination is heated with oil of vitriol, so as to yield fluo- 
ride of silicon, which is conducted into water. The resulting 
solution (with or without filtration) is neutralised with am- 
monia instead of potass, and then evaporated to dryness , 

2 a2 

352 Dr George Wilson on the Detection of Fluorine 

which has the effect of rendering the silica produced insoluble. 
On digesting water on the residue, fluoride of ammonium is 
dissolved, and the solution requires only to be evaporated to 
dryness and moistened with sulphuric acid to give off hydro- 
fluoric acid, which readily etches glass. The stages in the 
ammonia process are thus : — 

1st, Distillation of the substance with oil of vitriol, so as 
to produce fluoride of silicon, Si F 3 . 

2d, Neutralisation of the aqueous solution of the distillate 
with ammonia in excess, so as to produce fluoride of silicon 
and ammonium, 2 Si F 3 -f 3NH 4 F. 

3d, Evaporation of the neutralised liquid to dryness, so as 
to separate silica and render it insoluble. 

Ath, Exhaustion of the residue with water, and evaporation 
to dryness, so as to leave fluoride of ammonium. 

5th, Moistening of the ammonio-fluoride with oil of vitriol, 
so as to liberate hydro-fluoric acid, which will act upon glass. 

I have tried this process with Aberdeen and Peterhead 
granite ; with three trap rocks from the neighbourhood of 
Edinburgh, namely, basalt from Arthur Seat, greenstone 
from Corstorphine Hill, and clinkstone from Blackford Hill ; 
with a deposit from the boiler of the Atlantic steamer, Ca- 
nada ; with a fossil bone ; with the ashes of charcoal, of 
barley-straw, and of hay ; and in all with such success, that 
the applicability of the process to the end proposed is certain. 
The pieces of glass, etched by hydrofluoric acid evolved from 
the substances referred to, which I lay upon the table, are 
not selected successful specimens, but represent the whole of 
the trials made by the ammonia process. The etchings on 
the majority of them are as deep as could be obtained from 
pure fluorspar and oil of vitriol ; and, with the experience 
which I have now acquired, I have no doubt that I shall be 
more successful in succeeding trials with vegetable ashes, 
which, for reasons to be presently mentioned, require more 
precautions than fragments of rock do. 

The examination of a hard crystalline mineral, such as 
granite or an unweathered trap, presents no difficulties. It 
must be reduced to a tolerably fine powder, and employed in 
considerable quantity. A little sulphurous acid is always 

when accompanied by Silica. 353 

evolved during the action of the oil of vitriol, from the dust 
which is gathered during a protracted process of powdering ; 
but the presence of this acid in small quantity is of no im- 
portance, and the powdering of the rock is the most trouble- 
some part of the investigation. 

It is otherwise with weathered granite and trap, which 
contain chlorides and carbonates, and give off hydrochloric 
and carbonic acids when treated with sulphuric acid. These 
gaseous acids materially interfere with the processes de- 
scribed by the frothing which they occasion, and by their 
tendency to sweep away the hydrofluoric acid which may 
accompany them. In my earlier trials, accordingly, I treated 
the powdered pieces of rock with hydrochloric acid, and 
washed them with water, then dried them, and heated them 
with oil of vitriol. The preliminary treatment, however, 
risked, and, I have no doubt, occasioned, the loss of the fluo- 
rides present in the mineral, which were soluble in water or 
in hydrochloric acid, and latterly I abandoned this process. 
I refer to it here only because it explains certain of the less 
perfect etchings which are exhibited. 

In later trials, a simpler and more satisfactory process has 
been put in practice. The powdered rock has been added to 
oil of vitriol in the cold, in small quantities at a time, so as 
to prevent any great rise in temperature. So long as the 
heat evolved is not considerable, there is no risk of fluorine 
escaping, either as hydrofluoric acid or as fluoride of silicon, 
whilst any chlorides or carbonates present are decomposed, 
and the hydrochloric or carbonic acids evolved are carried 
away before their escape can interfere with the evolution of 
fluorine. When the oil of vitriol is afterwards raised to its 
boiling point, the fluoride of silicon is liberated, and little 
difficulty attends its collection and identification. 

The ashes of plants are somewhat less easily examined. 
They almost invariably contain charcoal, which occasions the 
evolution of sulphurous acid with hot oil of vitriol. Sul- 
phurous acid, however, does not very materially interfere 
with the detection of fluorine, as it can be expelled by heat- 
ing the distillate before adding ammonia, which is the pro- 
cess I have hitherto generally followed. It may also be 

354 Dv George Wilson on the Detection of Fluorine 

converted into sulphuric acid by the cautious addition of 
nitric acid, and then its presence is quite immaterial. But 
in several quite successful trials no steps were adopted to 
separate the sulphurous acid. 

The specimen laid upon the table, of glass etched by fluorine 
from barley-straw, will illustrate the applicability of the pro- 
cess to plant-ashes largely charged with silica, and which 
yielded with oil of vitriol, carbonic and hydrochloric acid, 
besides much sulphurous acid. 

The glass etched by the fluorine of charcoal-ashes is still 
more deeply corroded, although they were subjected to no 
preliminary process to remove the volatile acids which they 
contained, or to set free or separate the sulphurous acid 
which they yielded. 

In truth, the ammonia process has succeeded with every 
substance upon which I have tried it. The worst result has 
been with the ashes of hay, but they had been washed with 
water and hydrochloric acid to remove chlorides and car- 
bonates ; and in former papers I have shewn that such 
washings remove fluorides. Notwithstanding this, the evi- 
dence of the presence of fluorine in hay, afforded by the 
specimen, is such as has not hitherto (so far as I am aware) 
been afforded by any analyst, and the omission of the wash- 
ings will, I have no doubt, yield a still more satisfactory 
result on a repetition of the analysis. The same remark 
applies to coal-ashes, by the fluorine of which I have only 
one etching to shew. It is not a favourable specimen; the 
ashes were washed with a considerable volume of hydrochlo- 
ric acid and water ; the product of distillation was tested by 
the less perfect potassium-process ; and the lines etched by 
the hydrofluoric acid were drawn too fine. Experience has 
taught my assistants that the wax should be spread thin, and 
the lines through it be made with a broad point, if a distinct 
etching is to be obtained. But, withal, the results with coal- 
ashes are sufficiently marked. 

I have further tested the sufficiency of the ammonia pro- 
cess in the following stringent way. A fossil bone from the 
Himalayas, which I had already ascertained to contain a 
fluoride, and which was full of crystals of carbonate of lime, 

when accompanied by Silica. 355 

was reduced to powder, and mixed with powdered glass so as 
to add to it excess of silica. It was then subjected to the 
ammonia process, and has yielded an etching as deep as the 
purest fluorspar could have given with oil of vitriol. 

The result is so marked, that I should recommend the de- 
liberate addition of silica to bodies suspected to contain 
fluorine, as a provision for permitting such substances to be 
analysed in glass vessels, in which the largest quantities may 
be subjected to examination without risk of missing the ele- 
ment in search, or permitting it to escape. 

Five points call for further notice. 

1st, When a silicated fluoride, as I may, for the sake of 
brevity, call it, is distilled with oil of vitriol, the whole of 
the fluoride of silicon comes away as gas, as soon as the oil of 
vitriol has reached its boiling-point. It is not necessary, ac- 
cordingly, to subject a body supposed to contain fluorine to 
any lengthened ebullition ; and, in the case of plant-ashes, 
it is desirable to arrest the boiling as soon as all the fluorine 
has been evolved, for protracted ebullition only occasions evo- 
lution of sulphurous acid. Besides the ultimate glass-etching, 
the escape of fluorine is rendered manifest by the appearance 
of a white gelatinous body in the water, through which the 
gas evolved (Si F 3 ) is passed ; and by the production of a 
gelatinous, flocculent precipitate, when the solution of this 
gas is neutralised with potass. The coal-ashes gave all those 

2d, It appears exceedingly probable, that much of the silica 
occurring in the forms of quartz, chalcedony, opal, sinter and 
the like, which is generally supposed to have been deposited 
from aqueous or alkaline solution, has owed its origin to the 
decomposition of fluoride of silicon by water, or has otherwise 
been related to fluorine as its solvent or transferring agent. 
This, or rather the less precise notion of fluorine conveying 
silica, has been suggested by my friend Mr A. Bryson, and 
by Dr H. Buchanan, E.I.C.S. 

'3d, The occurrence of fluorspar in drusy cavities in green- 
stone, along with silica, as in the specimens obtained from 
Bishopton, on the Clyde ; the similar occurrence of apophyl- 
lite in the cavities of trap ; the association of topaz, pycnite, 

35G Dr George Wilson on the Presence of Fluorine 

lepidolite, and most of the other compound fluorides, with 
granite, gneiss, and mica slate, will acquire additional signifi- 
cance from the discovery that fluorine occurs in the rocks 
which form their matrices. 

4th, The presence of fluorine in plants is now rendered 
doubly probable, as it may enter them alike in combination 
with a metal such as potassium, sodium, or calcium, or in 
association with silica. 

5th, The presence of fluorine in animals may now be fully 
accounted for ; as it not only enters their bodies in the water 
they drink, but is contained in the vegetable food, by which, 
directly or indirectly, the whole animal kingdom is sustained. 
The prosecution of these views, however, will be taken up in 
succeeding papers. 

— — i — i 

On the Presence of Fluorine in the Stems of Graminece, Equi- 
setacece, and other Plants ; with some Observations on the 
Sources front which Vegetables derive this element. -By 
George Wilson, M.D.* 

Table of Plants examined for Fluorine. The numbers represent 
grains of ashes, except in the ease of Tabasheer and Wood Opal. 
The blanks imply that the weight was not known. 

. L .' Name of Plant, 

in brains. 

200 Horsetail (Equisetum liraosum), . . Distinct etching. 

Common bamboo (Bambusa arundinacea), 

Charcoal (derived chiefly from oak, and to a 

smaller extent from birch), 


Barley straw, .... 

Hay (Ryegrass), 

35 Equisetum variegatum, .... Faint etching. 

19 hyemale, 

255 palustre, 

Tussac grass (Dactylis caespitosa), 

99 Elymus arenarius, 

495 Sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum), 

1040 African teak, .... 

Smilax lati folia, No etching. 

Common rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), . 

235 Nepaul bamboo (Bambusa Nepalensis), . . 

Common Fern (Polypodium vulgare), 

, — _ — , 1 

* Head to the Botanical Society of Edinburgh, July 1852. 

in the Stems of Graminece, Equisetacecv, fyc. 357 

537 Tree Fern, No etching. 

24 Phalaris arundinacea, 
240 Malacca cane, 

50 Cocoa-nutshell, 

127 Indian teak (Tectona grandis), ... 

80 Tabasheer, 

-icon -rar j i 

1680 Wood opal, 

On this table the author remarked, that the siliceous stems which 
he had found to abound most in fluorine, were exactly those which 
contained most silica. In particular, deep etchings were procured 
from the Equisetacese (horsetails), and from the G-raminese (grasses), 
especially the common bamboo. The last was known to contain 
silica in such abundance that it collected within the joints in white 
masses, nearly pure, and had long, under the name of Tabasheer, 
been an object of interest to natural philosophers. The horsetails 
were scarcely less remarkable, for the amount of silica contained in 
their stems, which had led to the employment of one of them (Dutch 
rush, Equisetum hyemale), in polishing wood and metals. The 
African teak, which, like the bamboo, is known sometimes to secrete 
silica, was also found to contain fluorine, though much less largely 
than the plants named ; whilst the strongly siliceous stems of barley 
and ryegrass also yielded the element in marked quantity. The 
sugar-cane, however, gave less striking results than might have been 
expected, and the same remark applied to the Malacca cane. Two 
specimens of silicified wood and one of Tabasheer gave no evidence 
of the presence of fluorine. So far, however, as the plants named in 
the preceding Table, are concerned, the author does not wish it to 
be inferred, from the negative results which are detailed, that the 
plants in question are totally devoid of fluorine. With larger quan- 
tities of their ashes, positive results would in all probability be ob- 

The author's general conclusions were as follow : — 1st, That 
fluorine occurs in a large number of plants ; 2d, That it occurs 
in marked quantity in the siliceous stems of the Graminece and 
JEquisetacece ; 3d, That the quantity present is in all cases very 
small, for although exact quantitative results were not obtained, it 
is well known that a fraction of a grain of a fluoride will yield, with 
oil of vitriol, a quantity of hydrofluoric acid sufficient to etch glass 
deeply, so that the proportion of fluorine present, even in the plant 
ashes which contain it most abundantly, does not probably amount 
to more than a fraction per cent, of their weight. The proportion 
of fluorine appears to be variable, for different specimens of the 
same plant did not yield concordant results. 

In this, however, there is nothing anomalous, for some Bamboos 
yield Tabasheer largely, whilst others are found to contain none. 
It seems not unlikely that soluble fluorides ascending the siliceous 
stem of a plant, on their way to the seeds or fruits in which they 

3i38 On the Relation between the Height of Waves 

finally accumulate, may be arrested by the silica, and converted into 
insoluble fluosilicates (fluorides of silicon and of a metal) ; and a 
Bamboo, for example, secreting Tabasheer, may effect this change 
where one less rich in silica cannot determine it. The slow or quick 
drying of a stem may also affect the fixation of fluorides in the 
stems or trunks of plants. 

The sources of the fluorine found in plants may be regarded as 
pre-eminently two, — (1.) Simple fluorides, such as that of calcium, 
which are soluble in water, and through this medium are carried 
into the tissues of plants ; and (2.) Compounds of fluorides with 
other salts, of which the most important is probably the combination 
of phosphate of lime with fluoride of calcium. This occurs in the 
mineral kingdom in apatite and phosphorite, and in the animal king- 
dom in bones, shells, and corals, as well as in blood, milk, and 
other fluids. 

The recent discovery of the author's communicated to the Royal 
Society of Edinburgh, (page 349) has shewn that fluorides are much 
more widely distributed than is generally imagined, and that the trap 
rocks near Edinburgh, and in the neighbourhood of the Clyde, as 
well as the granites of Aberdeenshire, and the ashes of coal contain 
fluorides, so that the soils resulting from the disintegration of those 
rocks cannot fail to possess fluorides also. All plants, accordingly, 
may be expected to exhibit evidences of their presence, in the fol- 
lowing portions of their tissues or fluids : — 

1 . In the ascending sap, simple fluorides. 

2. In the descending sap, in association with the albuminous 
vegetable principles, and in the seeds or fruits, in a similar state of 
association, fluorides along with phosphates. 

3. In the stems, especially when siliceous and hardened, fluorides 
in combination with silica. The investigation is still in progress. 

Observations on the Relation between the Height of Waves 
and their Distance from the Windward Shore ; in a Letter 
to Professor Jameson. By THOMAS Stevenson, Esq., 
F.R.S.E., Civil Engineer. 

Edinburgh, September 16, 1852. 

Dear Sir, — In designing a harbour or sea work, the en- 
gineer, in order to avail himself of the advantage which is to 
be derived from past experience, must endeavour, to the best 
of his power, to institute a comparison between the given lo- 
cality and some other which he supposes to be in pari casu. 
Such a similarity, however, of locality and other physical 
peculiarities is hardly, if ever attainable, and all that he can 

and their Distance from the Windward Shore. 359 

do in such circumstances is to select an existing work which 
is as nearly as possible similarly exposed. Perhaps the most 
important element in such a comparison is what may be 
termed the line of maximum exposure, or in other words, 
the line of greatest " fetch" or reach of open sea. This line 
can be measured from a chart, and in this manner the differ- 
ence of exposure at the existing harbour and at the place where 
the new one is to be built, may be ascertained, but the en- 
gineer still does not know in what ratio the height of the 
waves increases in relation to any given increase in the 
line of maximum exposure. 

As this inquiry is one of great importance in the practice 
of marine engineering, and has not, so far as I know, been 
in any way investigated, I have, during the last two years, 
been making occasional observations on the subject when 
favourable circumstances occurred, and when my professional 
avocations would permit me. The localities selected were a 
small fresh-water loch, the Frith of Forth, and the Moray 

These observations have been but limited in extent, and I 
have thought it proper therefore to avail myself of your far- 
spread Journal, in directing the attention of others to the 
prosecution of this inquiry, which can be perfected only by 
multiplied trials. So far as my own observations have as 
yet gone, the waves seem to increase in height most nearly 
in the ratio of the square root of their distances from the 
windward shore. — I remain, yours faithfully, 

Thomas Stevenson. 

Professor Jameson. 

360 Robert Warrington, Esq., on the 

Additional Observations on the Green Teas of Commerce. 
By Robert Warrington, Esq., F.C. 

Since the publication of my last communication on this 
subject, read before the Society, May 19, 1851,* a series 
of microscopical and chemical examinations have been pub- 
lished in the Lancet of 9th August 1851, which have induced 
me to institute some additional experiments, the results of 
which may not be without interest to our readers, particu- 
larly, as they tend to remove a curious anomaly that has 
lately arisen. In the series of examinations alluded to, it is 
stated that several of the specimens of the green tea sub- 
mitted to investigation, were coloured with indigo mixed 
with porcelain clay ; and this is followed by an examination of 
some of the colouring materials themselves used at Canton for 
this purpose, and which had been obtained from the Museum 
at Kew Gardens. As I had statedf that, up to that period, no 
sample in which indigo had been employed as an artificial 
colouring agent for green teas had come under my notice, 
I felt it incumbent on me to investigate the matter. For 
this purpose I applied to Sir W. Hooker on the subject, and 
he allowed me in the handsomest manner to take from the 
cases in the Museum, small portions of the materials for ex- 
amination, and also favoured me with the loan of the manu- 
script journal of Mr Berthold Seeman, by whom the speci- 
mens had been collected while at Canton, as naturalist of 
H. M. Ship ' Herald,' then on a survey in that quarter of 
the globe. As these documents have been since published, 
and as the subject opens some interesting particulars, I have 
taken the liberty of appending his account in his own words. J 

* This Communication is transfered to our Journal, vol. li., p. 240. [Ed. 
Edin. Phil. Journ.] 

t Quart. Jour. Chem. Soc. iv,, p. 136. 

I Hooker's Journal of Botany, and Kew Garden Miscellany, No. 37, for 
January 1852. " In the Manual of Scientific Inquiry, you ask, whether, in the 
northern provinces of China, indigo or any other vegetable dye is used in 
colouring green tea ? Whether different processes of dying are pursued in the 
north from those of the south I cannot say, but it is certain that around Canton, 
whence great quantities are annually exported, the green tea is dyed with 

Green Teas of Commerce. 361 

Mr Seeman here distinctly states, that around Canton the 
green tea is dyed with Prussian blue^ turmeric, and gypsum ; 
that in the manufacture he inspected, the dyes above men- 
tioned were added ; and he gives their proportions. That 
there was no concealment or mysterious proceeding ; that 
one of the great merchants conducted him over his own, and 
also another manufactory, and that everything was conducted 
openly, and exhibited with great civility. And yet, strange 
to say, Mr Seeman appears to have been deceived notwith- 
standing all this ; for on submitting these materials to the 

Prussian blue, turmeric, and gypsum, all reduced into fine powder. The pro- 
cess is well described by Sir J. F. Davis (' The Chinese,' iii., 244), who, however, 
falls into the strange mistake of supposing the whole proceeding of colouring 
to be an adulteration, and leaves his readers to infer that it is only occasionally 
done in order to meet the emergency of the demand, while it is now very well 
known that all the green tea of Canton has assumed that colour by artificial 
dying. I had heard so much about tea, copper plates, picking of the leaves, 
rolling them up with the fingers, boiling them in hot water, &c, that I became 
anxious to see with my own eyes the process of manufacture, of which the 
various books had given me such a confused idea. One of the great merchants 
conducted me not only to his own but also to another establishment, where the 
preparation of the different sorts was going forward. There was no conceal- 
ment or mysterious proceeding, every thing was conducted openly, and exhibited 
with the greatest civility ; indeed, from all I saw in the country, I am almost 
inclined to conclude that either the Chinese have greatly altered, or their wish 
to conceal and mystify everything, of which so much has been said, never ex- 

" The tea is brought to Canton unprepared ; after its arrival it is first sub- 
jected to cleaning. Women and children are employed to pick out the pieces 
of twigs, seeds, and other impurities with which it happens to be intermixed. 
The only sorts which may be called natural are those gathered at different 
seasons ; the rest are prepared by artificial means. 

" Without entering into a description of all these processes, it may suffice to 
take one as an example. A quantity of Bohea Saushung was thrown into a 
spherical iron pan kept hot by means of a fire beneath. These leaves were 
constantly stirred about until they became thoroughly heated, when the dyes 
above mentioned were added, viz., to about twenty pounds of tea, one spoonful 
of gypsum, one of turmeric, and two or even three of Prussian blue. The leaves 
instantly changed into a bluish green, and having been stirred for a few minutes, 
were taken out. They, of course, had shrivelled and assumed different shapes 
from the heat. The different kinds were produced by sifting. The small 
longish leaves fell through the first sieve and formed young Hyson, while those 
Avhich had a roundish granular 6hape fell through last, and constituted Choo- 
cha or Gunpowder." 

362 On the Distribution of 

action of chemical tests, there could be no doubt that they 
consisted of indigo of a very inferior quality, and leaving a very 
large proportion of inorganic matter by calcination, and of 
porcelain clay. It is also curious that the very case selected 
by Mr Seeman to illustrate the processes, is the conversion 
by means of this facing or glaze, of a low quality of black 
tea (Bohea Saushung) valued at about 4d. to 6d. the pound, 
into high quality green teas valued at from Is. to Is. 6d. the 
pound ; but although Mr Seeman does not allow this to be 
an adulteration, yet surely he cannot deny that it is a fraud. 
Another very good method which I have lately employed 
of removing the colouring matter from the surface of green 
teas for the purpose of microscopical investigation, and one 
attended with very little trouble, is to take a piece of cream 
coloured wove paper, or paper free from blue colouring ma- 
terial, and having breathed on its surface or rendered it 
slightly damp, to pour the sample of tea under examination 
from the containing paper or vessel upon it* On then re- 
moving it back again a quantity of the facing powder will be 
found adhering to the surface of the paper ; and on placing 
it under the microscope it will be found studded with the 
colouring materials used, and the blue particles can be sub- 
jected to the action of chemical tests with the greatest ease, 
by placing a minute drop of the reagent on the granules with 
the end of a small stirring rod or slip of glass, and noting the 
effect. — (The Quarterly Journal of the Chemical Society, 
Vol. v., No. 18, July 1852, p. 139.) 

On the Distribution of Granite Blocks from Ben Cruachan. 
By William Hopkins, Esq., F.R.S., President of the 
Geological Society. 

Mr W. Hopkins exhibited at the Meeting of the Bri- 
tish Association at Ipswich, in 1851, a map of the lochs 
and mountains around Ben Cruachan, with the distribu- 
tion of the trains of granite blocks, to which he had 
alluded last year at the Edinburgh meeting. He had for- 

Granite Blocks from Ben Cruaehan. 363 

merly been unable to explain by what means the granite 
blocks, supposed to have been derived from Ben Cruaehan, 
had crossed the mountain group between Loch Fyne and Loch 
Lomond, so as to gain access to the latter, and form a stream 
extending to the Clyde and Glasgow. Since then, he had 
discovered, in this very mountain group, a granitic tract, not 
marked on the geological maps, in the immediate vicinity of 
Loch Sloy, at a height from 1500 to 2000 feet, and agreeing 
in mineral character with these travelled blocks, which may 
therefore have descended Loch Long and Loch Lomond, with 
the same facility that the granite blocks of Ben Cruaehan 
have entered Loch Awe, and those of Loch Etive have 
reached Oban and Kerrara. They are dispersed along the 
sides of the valleys, to the height of 300 or 400 feet. Mr 
Hopkins then referred to the possible causes of the disper- 
sion of the granite blocks ; — if by ocean currents, then the 
country must have been depressed nearly 2000 feet, as Wales 
is believed to have been about the same period ; if transport- 
ed by floating ice, independently of glaciers, then also the 
country must have had a lower level: terrestrial glaciers 
may also have been agents, if their existence was allowed. 
The character of the blocks, — being at first large and angu- 
lar, but becoming smaller and more rounded, — was opposed 
to the supposition that floating ice or terrestrial glaciers 
were the principal agents in their removal. If floating ice 
had been the cause, then the sphere of dispersion would 
probably, also, have been much greater. In Glen Wray he 
had observed indications of what he had considered true mo- 
raines. He was inclined to believe that more than one of 
these causes had been in operation in the dispersion of these 
blocks from their respective centres. 

On Fish Destroyed by Sulphuretted Hydrogen in the Bay of 
Callao. By Dr J. L. Burtt, U.S.N. (Proc. Acad. Nat. 
Sci. Philad., vi. 1.) 

One occurrence always excited much interest, whenever 
there was an evolution of sulphohydric acid gas (a frequent 
occurrence) from the bottom of the bay of Callao. The first 

364 J7. Melloni on Dew. 

premonition of what was to produce a remarkable destruc- 
tion among fish, was the discoloration of the water of the 
bay, from a marine green to a dirty milk-white hue, followed 
by a decided odour of the gas ; so much of it being present 
on many occasions as directly to blacken a clean piece of 
silver, and to blacken paint- work in a few hours. 

The fish, during this evolution, rose in vast numbers from 
the bottom, and after struggling for some time in convul- 
sions upon the surface, died. 

I was particularly struck by this fact, that all of them, 
during the time they were under its influence, acted in pre- 
cisely the same manner. The first thing noticeable with 
regard to its effect upon them was, that on coming near the 
surface, they seemed to have much difficulty in remaining 
below it at all. They then rose completely to the surface, 
struggling vainly to dive beneath. This was followed by a 
violent springing and darting in various directions, — evident- 
ly without control of direction — for they moved sideways, or 
upon the back, and sometimes tail first, with great velocity. 
After a little time their motion became circular, and upon 
the back, the circle of gyration constantly diminishing, and 
the rapidity of the motion as constantly increasing, until 
there was a sudden cessation of all motion. The head then 
floated above the surface, the body being in a perpendicular 
position. A few convulsive movements shortly followed, and 
they were dead. 

I have watched thousands of them so dying, and in every 
instance such was the mode of death. Having taken them 
at the moment of death, and immediately after, a rude exa- 
mination shewed in all the same appearance. The intestines 
and brain were gorged with blood, much darker than natural. 
The gills were almost black, and the air-bladder ruptured. 


M. Melloni on Dew. 

Dew is not an immediate effect of the cooling produced by 
the nocturnal radiation of vegetables on the vapour of the 
atmosphere, as most treatises on physics and meteorology 

M. Melloul on Dew. 305 

assume, but the result of a series of actions and reac- 
tions between the cold due to the radiation of plants, and 
the cold transmitted to the surrounding air. The grass 
is cooled but little below the temperature of the air, but 
it very quickly communicates to it a portion of the ac- 
quired cold; and since the difference of temperature be- 
tween the radiating body and the surrounding medium is in- 
dependent of the absolute value of the prevailing temperature, 
the grass surrounded by a colder air still further lowers its 
temperature, and communicates a newdegreeof cold to the air, 
which reacts, in its turn, on the grass, and compels it to ac- 
quire a temperature still lower, and so on in succession. 
Meanwhile the medium loses its state of equilibrium, and 
acquires a sort of vertical circulation, in consequence of the 
descending motion of the portions condensed by the cold of 
the upper foliage, and the ascending motion of the portions 
which have touched the surface of the earth. Now, the gra- 
dual cooling and the contact of the soil evidently tend to 
augment the humidity of the stratum of air, and thus bring 
it by degrees towards the point of saturation. Then the 
feeble degree of cold produced directly by the radiation of 
bodies, suffices to condense the vapour contained in the air 
which surrounds them ; and since the causes which give 
rise to the circulating movement, and to the humidity of the 
air, continue through the whole of the night, the quantity of 
water deposited on the leaves increases indefinitely. 

The greatest part of the nocturnal cooling is due to the 
development of the leaves, which presents to the sky an im- 
mense number of thin bodies having large surfaces, and 
almost completely isolated ; this is the reason why the dews 
are so feeble in winter, and less copious in the nights of the 
early parts of spring, than in the equally long nights of au- 
tumn. Dew is also more abundant in autumn, because the 
days being then warmer than in spring, and the vapour in- 
creasing more rapidly than the temperature, the same degree 
of cold (such as the invariable depression of the temperature 
of plants below that of the atmosphere) condenses a greater 
quantity of vapour. The slightest breath of wind disturbs 
the circulation of the lower atmospheric stratum, and neces- 

VOL. LIII. NO. CVI. — OCTOBER 1852. 2 B 

366 .1/. Melloui on Dew. 

sarily diminishes the accumulation of dew. A strong wind 
impedes its formation, by bringing fresh supplies of heat, 
and especially by renewing incessantly the stratum of air 
comprised between the summit of the plants and the surface 
of the earth, and thus taking away from it the possibility of 
gradually acquiring that high degree of humidity necessary 
to the precipitation of the vapour, by reason of the small de- 
gree of cold which the plants contract with regard to the sur- 
rounding medium. 

The differences of the quantity of dew on different sub- 
stances all arise, either from their difference of emissive 
power, or from the diversity of their situation with regard to 
the heavenly vault, or from the hygrometric condition of the 
surrounding space, or from the greater or less obstacles 
which retard the descent of the air, and thus more or less 
favour its frigorific reaction ; or, lastly, from the proximity 
of the soil, which permits the return of the air on the ra- 
diating substances, and gives rise to that aerial circulation, 
whence result the gradual cooling and successive augmenta- 
tion of humidity in the lower stratum of the atmosphere. 

Distribution of Dew in different Regions. 

To complete the study of our subject, it now only remains 
for us to examine the intensity of the nocturnal radiation, and 
the distribution of dew in the different regions of the globe. 

Many observations have been made to determine the diur- 
nal temperature in different parts of the world, but very few 
with the object of determining the nocturnal heat; so that 
we are almost entirely ignorant as to what are the true pro- 
portions between the temperatures of day and night in dif- 
ferent latitudes and seasons of the year. In accordance, 
however, with the preceding remarks, it is seen that in calm 
and clear seasons, the difference between the temperature of 
the day and of the night ought to be so much the greater, as 
the vegetation is richer and the night longer ; and we have 
already observed, that in the nights of the early part of 
spring, vegetation being but little developed, the tempe- 
rature is less lowered than in the latter part of autumn, 
when the plants still preserve a part of their foliage. We 

M. Melloni on Dew. 367 

shall now add, that in these countries where the foliage is 
generally narrow and vertical, like that of New Holland, the 
nocturnal temperature ought to be less diminished, relative 
to the diurnal temperature, than in places of the same lati- 
tude covered with plants analogous to those which grow in 
ether countries. 

Copiousness of Dew in Tropical Countries. 

But, laying aside everything depending on the alternations 
of the seasons in our temperate climates, and on the differ- 
ences of vegetation in countries situated under the same la- 
titude, it is easy to convince ourselves, that the greatest 
difference between the temperature of the day and that of 
the night will occur under the torrid zone, and that there also 
the dews will, in general, be more abundant than in any 
other part of the globe. In fact, in cold and temperate coun- 
tries, the two principal elements of nocturnal radiation pro- 
ceed (so to speak) in opposite directions ; since the night is 
long when the earth is destitute of vegetation, and short when 
the plants are richly clothed with foliage. But under the 
equator, vegetation never fails, the night is always long, and 
almost entirely without twilight ; and in the neighbouring 
countries forming the torrid zone, properly so called, when the 
night time slightly exceeds the period of daylight, the rain falls 
in torrents, and plants are more richly clothed with leaves 
than at any other season of the year. The greatest difference, 
then, between the temperature of the days and that of calm 
and clear nights will occur in the equatorial regions, a short 
time after the rainy season ; and as there will then prevail 
in the atmosphere a high degree of humidity, the dew itself 
also will be very abundant at this season. On the other 
hand, since the torrid zone possesses the highest known 
atmospheric temperature, the nocturnal cooling ought to 
precipitate there a larger quantity of water than in any other 
country, by reason of the divergence above mentioned between 
the progression of the vapour and that of the temperature. 
In fact, the dews are so copious in the equatorial regions, 
that M. de Humboldt does not hesitate to compare their 
effect with those of rain itself. 



368 M. Melloni on Dew. 

>di motf T __ . 'iLca'i fliw aonornoo 

Irani 0/ X^w in rolynesvi. 

A curious fact, and one not much known, which seems at 
first sight to contradict what we have been saying, is the 
extreme feebleness, or the absolute non-existence of dew in 
that extensive assemblage of small islands in the torrid zone, 
generally fertile, and more or less rich in plants, which geo- 
graphers denominate Polynesia. 

But, with a little attention, it will soon be seen that this 

apparent anomaly affords one of the most striking confirma- 
tions of the truth of the theoretical views unfolded in the 
course of this memoir. In fact, whatever may be the hu- 
midity of these small islands, scattered here and there in tlie 
vast ocean like oases in a desert, and their tendency to the 
cooling produced by the long nights and luxuriant vegeta- 
tion, the small extent of their territories renders the atmo- 
spheric column superincumbent on each of them easily per- 
meable even to its centre by the air of the surrounding sea. 
This invasion is, moreover, favoured by the trade-winds 
which prevail constantly in those latitudes. Now we know 
that the air in the midst of vast seas preserves a nearly 
uniform temperature. The stratum of air cooled by the 
contact of the soil will then be warmed by mixing with the 
air which is constantly reaching it from the sea, and the 
difference between the temperatures of the day and night 
being extremely small, dew can scarcely be formed at all, or, 
at any rate, in very slight quantity. 


Want of Dew on Ships traversing the vast solitudes of the Ocean. 

Perfectly analogous causes prevent the formation of dew 
on ships which traverse the vast solitudes of the ocean. But, 
what is truly singular, is the appearance of the phenomenon 
on board these same ships on arriving afterwards in the 
neighbourhood of terra firma. Thus the navigators who 
proceed from the Straits of Sunda to the Coromandel Coast, 
know that they are near the end of their voyage when they 
perceive the ropes, sails, and other objects, placed on the 
deck, become moistened with dew during the night (Le Gentil, 

M. Mellonl on Dew. 369 

Voyages^ tome i., page 625.) The reason of this strange 

phenomenon will readily be seen, if we start from the fact 

(well established by experience), that, in the equatorial 

regions, the sea air preserves not only a nearly constant 

temperature by day and night, but also an hygrometric state 

considerably removed from the point of saturation ; and that 

the reverse is the case with regard to the air on land, which, 

in the day time, is drier than the air of the sea, but which, 

in the night, may readily acquire, in countries sufficiently 

abounding in water, or near enough to the coast, a much 

greater humidity, in consequence of the frigorific actions and 

reactions of which we have before spoken. Now, the land 

wind, which always blows by night on the borders of tropical 

countries, when the sky is clear, transports this humid air 

to a certain distance out at sea. Then, the feeble degree 

of cold acquired by substances freely exposed on the deck, 

totally unable, as it is, to condense the vapour of the sea 

atmosphere, is nevertheless sufficient to precipitate that of 

the air which has been in nocturnal contact with the soil, 
.tiij 9il j yd 

Dew becomes more abundant as we approach the Equator. 

We conclude that dew, feeble or non-existent towards the 
poles, by reason of the extreme brevity of the summer nights, 
becomes more and more abundant as we approach the 
equator ; that, notwithstanding the general course of the 
phenomenon is very much modified by the extent, the nature, 
and the position of the land, according as it is more or less 
surrounded by the sea, more or less covered by mountains, 
ravines, lakes, meadows, marshes, or running streams. The 
borders of Egypt, of the Red Sea, of the Persian Gulf, of 
Chili, and of Bengal, are celebrated for the richness of their 
dews (see the Voyages de Volney, t. i., p. 51 ; of Burck- 
hardt, p. 423 ; of JViebuhr, p. 10 ; of Ker Porter, t. ii., p. 123 ; 
of Le Gentil, t. i., p. 624 ; of Ruppel, p. 186) ; the deserts 
of Central Africa, and the interior provinces of Bahia ; of 
Fernambouc, Urmia, and Mazandecan, in Brazil and Persia, 
by the almost total absence of this nocturnal phenomenon. 
(Voyages of Spix and Martins, t. ii., p. 624 ; of Oliver in 
Persia, t, i., pp. 123, 145 ; of Ker Porter, t. ii., pp. 63, 69.) 

370 M. Melloni m V 


Presence of Dew makes known the proximity of Masses of Water 
concealed from the Eye. 

The appearance of dew may serve, in certain cases, to 
make known the proximity of a mass of water concealed 
from the eye of the observer. Thus the dew, which is almost 
completely wanting in certain steril valleys traversed by 
the Euphrates, becomes of sufficient intensity to form visible 
drops of water, whilst at a distance of some miles from the 
borders of this river, concealed by the land (Oliver., t. ii., p. 
225). And Major Denham says, that independently of the 
suffocating heat, and of the intense cold that he endured 
during the night in his memorable journey across the Sahara, 
he also suffered from the extreme dryness of the air, until 
he reached a certain distance from Ischad, where, though 
there was not the slightest appearance of water on any part 
of the horizon, the dews began to appear feeble at first, 
then more and more copious, and so abundant on arriving 
near the banks of this great African lake, that the clothes of 
those persons who remained sometime outside the tents were 
completely soaked with it. — (Denham, Narrative, p. 49.) 

Intense Cold during the Night in the Great Desert. 
With regard to the intense cold experienced by this in- 
trepid traveller, Denham, during the night in the Desert, it is 
occasioned (in my opinion), neither by the extreme clearness 
of the sky, nor by an excess of cutaneous perspiration, but 
from the great nocturnal calm of this desolate region, which 
allows the soil to act strongly on the air, and to receive with 
equalforce the reaction of that fluid. Observe, first, that a dry, 
flat, monotonous, horizontal, and uniformly extended country, 
like this immense plain of Northern Africa, so well charac- 
terised by the Arabs under the name of the Sea ivithout 
water {El baar billa >naa\ presents no cause capable of dis- 
turbing, during the night, the equilibrium of the air ; so that 
this must remain in a state of almost absolute rest some time 
after the setting of the sun. The soil of the Desert being, 
moreover, composed of dry, sandy earths, of bad conducting 
quality, can receive from the interior but a very poor com- 

M. Melloni on Dew. 371 

pensation in exchange for the heat it has lost. The solid 
body radiating by night towards space, and the surrounding 
medium, will therefore be unmoving and isolated, and thus 
be in highly favourable conditions for reacting with energy 
on each other, and considerably lowering their temperature. 

Artificial Freezing of Water in Bengal. 

Another phenomenon resulting from the combination of 
the two frigorific actions, successively excited in the radiat- 
ing body, and the medium which envelopes it, is the congela- 
tion of water, produced artificially in Bengal, during the 
calm and clear nights. It would be superfluous to repeat 
here the details relative to this process, a description of 
which may be found in all treatises on physics. It will be 
sufficient to call to mind, that the vessels, very shallow and 
uncovered, containing the liquid to be frozen, are placed at 
the bottom of certain excavations made in the soil, and sur- 
rounded by a border of earth, four or five inches in height ; 
that the water, whose emissive power is nearly equal to that 
of the leaves of plants, and of lamp black, does not descend 
even two degrees lower than a covered thermometer placed 
by its side, and that frequently the ice is formed when the 
thermometer, elevated four or five feet, marks 5° or 6° above 
zero ; which leads to the immediate inference, that the water 
lowers gradually its temperature down to the zero of the 
thermometric scale (centigrade), by means of a series of ac- 
tions and reactions, perfectly similar to those which pro- 
duce, under the same circumstances of calm and clearness of 
sky, the nocturnal cooling of any other radiating matter ex- 
posed to the free air, and the decrease of the atmospheric- 
temperature, in proportion as we approach the earth's surface. 

It is in consequence of these same frigorific actions that 
the buds of plants, and the shallow waters of ditches and 
ponds, scattered here and there over the country, often freeze 
during the calm and clear nights of spring, whilst the ther- 
mometer marks several degrees higher than the freezing 
point. — {Extracted from MellonVs Memoir on Dew. — Uicliard 
Taylor's, Esq., F.8.A. Sc, Scientific Memoirs, Vol. v., Part 
xx. April 1852, p. 543.) 


We regret to announce the death of a learned and highly 
accomplished naturalist, William Macgillvray, Professor of 
Civil and Natural History, Marischal College, Aberdeen. 
Dr Macgillvray, originally, we believe, from the Island uf 
Harris, was for many years assistant to Professor Jameson, 
in the University of Edinburgh. He was afterwards ap- 
pointed Conservator of the Anatomical and Surgical Museum 
of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh. This office 
he resigned on being appointed to the Chair of Civil History 
and Natural History in Marischal College, Aberdeen. He 
lectured for many years with great success to enthusiastic 
classes of students, and increased the interest and utility of 
his excellent academic prelections by field lectures and ex- 
cursions. His extensive acquaintance with all the branches 
of natural history, and his eminent talent as a writer, occa- 
sioned great demands on his time ; and it is well known that 
considerable and important works connected with natural 
history owe their chief value and charm to his learning and 

Ornithology, botany, and geology, were with him favourite 
pursuits. His great and beautiful work, entitled " A History 
of British Birds, Indigenous and Migratory," &c, in five 
volumes octavo, with numerous characteristic engraved illus- 
trations from his own beautiful drawings, is universally 
known and esteemed. He translated several volumes on 
Botany ; but published no original work in that department 
of Natural History. In Geology, however, he contributed in- 
teresting memoirs to scientific societies, and to scientific 
journals of the day ; and published a manual of that popular 
science, which, although incomplete, is on a better plan 
than that adopted in some similar works of greater pre- 


1. Meteorological Society at the Mauritius. — It is pleasing to 
learn that a Meteorological Society has been formed last summer at 

Scientific Intelligence — Meteorology — Geology. 373 

the Mauritius under the auspices of the Government, which, from 
the names of its Councillors, and the very good regulations which it 
has issued, promises to obtain much novel information from that 
colony, and the surrounding ocean. 

2. Great Fall of Rain in India. — Professor Oldham, in writing 
to Sir R. I. Murchison from Churra Poonjee, in the Khassya Hills, 
north of Calcutta, states that the rain-fall is there about 600 inches, 
or 8 J- fathoms, per annum ; 550 inches of which descend in the six 
rainy months commencing in May : and that in one day he measured 
a fall of 25-5 inches. 

3. Annual Amount of Rain at Alexandria. — The annual amount 
of rain at Alexandria stands in contrast to that mentioned as occur-- 
ring in some places in India ; the quantity at the former being only 
7|- inches. This quantity, indeed, might be expected to be small, 
from our knowledge of the fact that three or four degrees to the 
south the country is nearly rainless. 


4. Examination of Mocks by means of the Microscope. — Many 
years ago, we strongly recommended the use of the microscope in 
examining the structure of rocks, especially of quartz rock and sand- 
stone ; also of compact rocks, as basalt and clinkstone. Very lately 
this important subject has engaged the attention of Naturalists, as 
is shewn by the circumstance that, at the meeting of the British 
Association in the year 1851, at Ipswich, a memoir was read on 
Klinology ; and that, at the meeting of the British Association in 
the present year at Belfast, the examination of rocks by means of 
the microscope was explained and illustrated in a very interesting- 
manner by several of the more distinguished members of the As- 
sociation. We trust that ere long the results of these examinations, 
which so deeply excited the curiosity and attention of the meeting?, 
will be laid before the public. 

5. On the Relative Conducting Power of Rocks for Heat. — M . 
G. D. Helmersen, in a set of experiments on the relative conducting 
power of some rocks for heat, finds that quartz rock is the best con- 
ductor of heat, and compact limestone the worst. 

6. Tertiary Coal in India. — In the Sylhit district in Bengal there 
is a deposit of tertiary nummilitic limestone connected with a deposit 
of coal and ironstone. The coal is called by the reporter true coal. 
What is meant by true coal ? Geologists enumerate three sets of 
coal, viz., anthracite or glance coal, black coal, and brown coal. To 
which of these are we to refer the true coal ? 

7. Examination of Soils by the Microscope. — The microscopic 
examination, by Ehrenberg, of the black earth or soil (Schwarzerde) 

374 Scientific I ntelligence — (leology. 

of Tachernosem in Russia, remarkable tor its fertility, and which 
covers 00,000 geographical square miles of country to a depth from 
half a yard to two yards and a half, is a fine example of the utility 
of microscopic examination of soils. This black earth was proved 
by this examination to be a fresh-water deposit, and that probably 
its extraordinary fertility was in some degree connected with its 
abundance of microscopic fo